Saturday, June 19, 2010

Halal Food (1)

Thirty years ago, halal slaughtering became a divisive issue in our nation’s sheep and beef slaughter houses. The meat companies had lost their markets in Europe and wanted to expand their sales in the Middle East, so they decided to have all livestock slaughtered using halal practices (the word halal means lawful). I wrote and article called Dangerous Compromise in Meat Industry opposing their actions.

This was an issue of freedom and liberation. Moslems are free to pray to whoever they wish. They are free to kill their meat in any way they choose, provided it is humane. What they are not entitled to is to force Christian farmers to pay to have a Moslem slaughterman to pray a Moslem prayer over their livestock. Meat companies mostly owned by farmers were forcing their clients to submit to Moslem religious practices. I was very encouraged to read recently that many Southland farmers are still resisting the meat companies that have given in on this issue.

Eventually, halal slaughtered meat arrived in our supermarkets. Some Christians asked if they should eat this meat that is labelled has halal. My response was as follows.

For a Christian, halal slaughtered meat falls into the category of ‘meat offered to idols’. The Bible teaches that, while it is wrong to offer meat to false gods, it is not wrong for Christians to eat this meat if it comes onto the market.

Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:4,5)
Provided Christians give thanks for what they eat, they should have no fear of such meat. Even though it has been offered to a false god, it has been consecrated by their prayers. The only situation where eating halal killed meat would be wrong is where it may cause a brother to stumble. No food is unclean in itself. But if your brother is distressed by what you eat, it is better not to eat it (Romans 14:14-21).

This issue has come again. Many imported food stuffs now have halal labels on them. In my next couple of posts, I will provide some more scriptures that support this view and discuss some scriptures that seem to advocate a stricter standard.

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