Friday, 6 July 2012

Orwell's heirs

The latest edition of Socialist History contains a particularly extensive review of Familiar Strangers in which Will Boisseau presents an interesting parallel scenario between the churches and "...British socialists, who rejected vegetarianism for fear of being out of touch with the general electorate, particularly in rural areas. Moreover, both movements were worried about an economy of sympathy, in which the public's compassion could not stretch to concern for both down-trodden humans and animals." I'm inclined to take that precept a stage further and suggest that certain Christian journals - such as the 'thinking Catholic digest' - would prefer to dwell on just about anything other than their ethical relationship with creation these days.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Order of the Cross

A review of my book in another of those highbrow theology periodicals (Journal of Ecclesiastical History this time) mentions the lack of coverage afforded to the distinctly vegetarian Order of the Cross. Well, who knows? Maybe the sect has an actual history beyond those quarter-page adverts in animal rights journals and the occasional Christian newspaper. Everyone's heard of them but nobody's much the wiser about their actual existence - even though their views have been expressed in articles and fairly forthright interviews over the years; notably so, in Rynn Berry's Food for the Gods (Pythagorean Publishers, New York, 1998). The Order have a new website underway, so there's always the hope that their Trustees might be more forthcoming about their origins which have after all, been obfuscated for longer than anyone can remember. The first edition of their arcane journal, The Herald of the Cross was published in January 1905 and the leading editorial paragraph was entitled ‘Our Future Work’. Whilst presuming to supersede the established and eventually 'forgotten' Order of the Golden Age the breakaway reformers proclaimed: “We hope to make more effective by means of our propaganda the Ideals for which the Order has stood.” Fast-forward to their historical supplement of 1952 and there’s barely any proselytising activity to speak of with less, it seems, to follow. As far as I can tell, ideas (and not always good ones) abound among every generation of vegetarian Christians whereas events (of equal importance to history) lend themselves far less readily to the overall record.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Lost studies in Animal Rights, Welfare and Vegetarianism

I've a letter in The Peaceable Table (June edition) which lists several long out-of-print but superb texts, selectively absent from the 'Select Bibliographies' of many modern titles which trace their way through the same subject: