Cultural change is never merely a matter of different taste sensations and menus.
Ask Mark Dixon, an award-winning English chef.
Soon after posting his restaurant’s Valentine’s Day menu on Facebook in January he started getting death threats. For 50 British pounds per person, he offered diners a specialty tasting menu that included grilled halibut, vodka cured salmon, foie gras, and chicken liver parfait. Soon after posting the menu, the restaurant was reportedly bombarded with phone calls, threats, and fake reservations. Vegans—who only eat food with zero animal products—were offended. Who would have thought that people who prefer pinto beans and beet to red meat could be dangerous?
Mr. Dixon decided not to test the reality of the threats and canceled the feast.
Get used to it. The culture has changed and food ‘police’ are on the ascendancy.
I met my first Vegan friend over thirty years ago when we were hiking the mountains of South Africa. As we hiked many trails over the years I came to know him as a gentle soul. Though he would rarely share food out of my billycan his veganism was, if not entirely private, never a cause of friction. He did not make a big fuss about his or anyone else’s food choices. Evan was nominally Jewish but Veganism was his real religion.
In a few short decades the Christian cultural consensus has dissolved into a mélange of flavors and extremes. A couple years ago I remember sitting to a meal in Korea beside a colleague from England, a flower child of the sixties, raised on the Beatles and Bolshevism. Unlike Evan, of three decades earlier, my colleague objected strenuously to the food choices of everyone else at the table. We smiled uncomfortably but did not indulge his delusion even when he raised his voice in fury. We tucked into the mutton. “Murderers,” he muttered.
Do not touch, do not taste, is the cry of the new age. The reason is not merely health related. Increasingly the type of food one eats is couched in religious terms. Why, some wonder, would any righteous person consume the flesh of dead animals when they could instead consume creatures that live on light, such as plants?
A similar “higher life” heresy plagued the early church. God’s Word says (Colossians 2:20–23), “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—‘Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,’ which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”
In other words, food does not make one righteous or unrighteous. That Christian position is being eroded in this culture because people are turning from Christ and increasingly looking to Mother Nature, and her fruits, for spiritual nourishment. They believe that food choice does bear on spiritual righteousness.
If nations continue to turn from Christianity, how can they reasonably expect to continue to enjoy the social, political, and economic fruits of Christianity. Liberty and freedom are not fruits that spring up from any kind of soil. Let us not forget that tyranny is the opposite of liberty, but “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Those who cheer on the loss of Christian cultural consensus are delusional if they think it will lead to a sweeter world. I’m afraid that we lose much more than Mr. Dixon’s feast. Those who threatened his life over his ‘impure’ food choices share something with others who are just plain old control freaks, such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In New York Bloomberg banned all kinds of foods including food donations to homeless shelters since bureaucrats couldn’t guarantee approved levels of fats, sugars, and other nutrients. This growing obsession with food, the disapproval and bullying of those who don’t eat right, promises more intimidation, threats, and rules. It promises an overgrowth of poisonous food Nazis.
Ironically, older National Socialists wanted a return to earth focused diets—a 1930s-era Nazi slogan proclaimed, “Nutrition is not a private matter!” The new order agrees. It’s not just a matter of what is on the menu.