After several parishioners approached him asking what he thought of adopting a vegan lifestyle out of compassion for animals, Pastor Raymond Roberts of Crossroads Christian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, assured them that people of faith need not concern themselves with the suffering of non-human animals because, unlike with humans, there exists virtually no compelling scientific evidence that animals have souls.
The issue came up, says Crossroads parishioner Ruth Wallace, after many in the congregation completed a 21-day “Daniel Fast,” which calls for rejecting the indulgent “food of kings” and eating only vegetables and water - essentially, switching to a vegan diet. "A lot of people in our church have health issues, and we felt so good after doing the Daniel Fast," said Ruth. "We wondered how we could justify going back to eating foods that required hurting animals."
Pastor Ray assured them that there was no spiritual dilemma. “There’s a place for faith, and there’s a place for science,” he said. “On this particular issue, it’s important to look at the science. And there’s no good science proving that dogs or cats, let alone cows, chickens, and especially pigs, have souls. If you know of any, show me!” he challenged.
Pastor Ray noted, by contrast, the plethora of objective, verifiable data demonstrating that human beings have souls. “There's so much I can't even begin to describe it, because I wouldn't do it justice," he said. "And the Bible is quite clear on the issue as well."
He dismissed claims by some in the Catholic Church, like Pope Francis, that animals do, in fact, have souls. “As true Christians, we are not called to unthinkingly accept the illogical assertions of corrupt papist figures,” he reminded his parishioners. “Again, show me the science.”
Alluding to the previous summer’s church picnic, he said, "Besides, remember those ribs that Brother Ryan made last year? God is kind! He wouldn’t give us such a blessing only to snatch it away.” He chuckled and added, “Next time we’ll just pray to have the calories and saturated fat removed. Sound good?”