Today I’m going to meander like a salamander about Judas Iscariot. If you don’t know about Judas Iscariot, let me give you the quick 411. The down low on this down bro’. Judas was one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. As an aside, there is some good evidence that Jesus was a vegan, in that he was influenced by the Essenes. Anyway, that’s a story for a different day and a controversial one. Needless to say, if Jesus was around today I’m sure he’d be vegan, seeing as how compassionate he was.
So Judas Iscariot was a disciple of Jesus’, but perhaps more importantly, he was also the one disciple who sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver or so the story goes. And this then led to Jesus’ crucifixion.
So you might be reading this my good friend and wondering about the title to this post and how Judas Iscariot can be brought into a discussion about veganism. Ah, my good reader, I’m glad you asked. Vegansim is a living testament to peace and compassion and living a non-violent life. In fact, one could go further and suggest that veganism is a living protest to the violence that is inherent in our daily lives and in the human culture currently and especially as we treat animals.
Veganism is an ethical approach to living, it is a way of saying that you don’t believe in the paradigm that animals are property. Veganism is saying that you believe animals have inherent rights as sentient beings, not the least of those is the right to be left alone which means that they are not property and in fact deserve protection as many of our most vulnerable fellow humans are protected from abuse and being property.
And this is where Judas Iscariot and the vegans comes in. Judas sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Judas was a disciple of Jesus and yet he betrayed him. Veganism has similar turncoats in our midst. Veganism has its share of Judases.
Let me give you an example. Folks who appear or say that they are vegan, and they are for all practical purposes. But then comes a time when they want a purse or belt or jacket that you just can’t get in any other material than leather or wool or silk. These folks buy the jacket/purse/wallet etc, etc and they argue that it’s okay or that they’re still vegan, because it was on sale or it was used or they didn’t kill the animal to have it made.
These folks are the Judas Isacriots walking amongst the midst of veganism and watering down the meaning and the humble and compassionate ethics from which the foundation of veganism is built. They are like workers who build the cathedral and then afterwards start chipping away at the cornerstone.
There are other types of vegan Judas Isacriots out there. There are those who turn a blind eye to vegans who buy leather/wool or other products because they don’t think it’s a big deal. They think that these other Judas Iscariot vegans are still doing a lot of good compared to your average omnivore. And they are. But when you choose to become vegan you are choosing a narrower path and when you choose that path much is expected of you.
If we continue weakening the vegan tea so to speak, will there be any remnants of that tea left? No. We need to get these Judas vegans to realize the error of their ways or to stop calling themselves vegans. Rather be called a strict vegetarian, but don’t water down the vegan ethic because your ethics can be so cheaply bought for 30 pieces of silver.
And if you’re thinking about becoming a Judas vegan, think again about how cheaply you’re willing to sell out your ethics for. Is that leather purse worth saving $10 over buying that similar but pleather one? Can you be bought and sold so cheaply and turn a blind eye to the animal suffering you’re aiding. Think about it. You never killed the cow, heck you didn’t even buy it new, yet you’re saying with your 30 pieces of silver that it’s okay to kill animals, that I’m okay with being a Judas vegan. Don’t do it. This life, our ethics and the choices we make are but a brief flicker of a flame snuffed out in a fraction of a second, but our karma and our choices tattoo our souls forever.
And those other shades of Judas vegans who turn a blind eye to other vegans buying leather products or wool products, get involved, let your voice be heard that this is not okay, that this is not acceptable from vegans. Don’t bite your tongue. And support those other vegans who do speak out regardless of how you might like their tone or not. Silence is a position, and it’s a position that allows the oppressor to keep on oppressing.