A teacher in Cape Town, South Africa, has found herself in a bit of trouble after she was said to be encouraging her students to choose a vegetarian lifestyle. The reason? Parents are complaining that the lifestyle choice is also making them move away from Christianity.
The English teacher, Melanie Thomet, says that, along with being an animal rights activist and vegetarian, she is also not Christian. She has stated that she is open about her lifestyle, which includes attending animal rights protests, adding that children who read about it on Facebook end up asking her questions related to it, which she answers honestly. But some of the parents have been thinking that because she is encouraging a vegetarian lifestyle, she is also making children question their Christian beliefs.
One of the parents was reported saying that when her son refrained from eating meat, it was around the same time that he stopped believing in God. One of the grandparents has claimed that her grandson is furious with her for letting him think there was a God and he stated that animals also have rights.
The angered parents reported the teacher to the education department, but it disregarded their complaint.
However, it’s clear that the two issues are not linked. They are both ideas that the teacher believes for herself, and just because the students might be influenced by both, it doesn’t mean that they co-exist.
The real issue seems to be rooted into something deeper than a vegetarian lifestyle: parents are feeling that their kids are changing, perhaps moving away from beliefs, such as eating meat and being a Christian, that they themselves are insistent upon in their own lives. Added to this, Thomet has been said to be a bit unorthodox, which can be threatening to parents.
Interestingly, Christianity and vegetarianism actually support each other: many Christian monastic groups have encouraged this lifestyle. These include Cistercians, Orthodox monks and Christian esoteric groups, to mention a few. Vegetarianism has also been linked to other religions, such as those that were established in ancient India, with Buddhism and Hinduism being examples.
*Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons