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Comment of the Fortnight
28 May 1999
The vegetarians, the meat-eater, and the christians

Consider, please, the following scenario, which takes place in the United States of America:

A group of vegetarians is gathered in a park, eating their lunch. They spy a lone meat-eater eating a jumbo hamburger at a nearby table. One of the vegetarians begins to speak loudly as follows:

“I'm so glad I'm a vegetarian. I can't take any pleasure in eating the flesh of some innocent animal. It's really good to have reverence for all life. It's too bad there are so many primitive savages who delight in butchery.”

At this point, the meat-eater, upset and a bit angry, leaves the park.

Whether you're a carnivore or a vegetarian, I think you'll agree with the following conclusions:


Now, move from this hypothetical scenario to an event which actually occurred at the graduation ceremonies of a high school in Calvert County, Maryland. A student, Nick Becker, had succesfully lobbied for thirty seconds of silence instead of an invocation during the cermonies. During this moment of silence, one person began reciting the Lord's Prayer. He was joined by thousands of the people in the audience. Even the President of the County Commissioners, Linda L. Kelley, joined in the recitation of the prayer.

Mr. Becker, upset and angry, left the graduation ceremony and, in accordance with school policy, was not allowed back in to receive his diploma with the other students. (You may read a Washington Post article with the details here.)

I come to these conclusions about this event:

Mr. Becker acted in a legal, constitutional, and responsible way by leaving the ceremony, and he deserves both support and congratulations. The audience members who prayed also acted constitutionally, but their disrespect for those who do not share their faith is utterly shameful and deserves only disgust and condemnation.

Let me know what you think.

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