John Dear

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John Dear (born 15 August 1959) is an American Catholic priest, pacifist, vegetarianism advocate, author and lecturer.


  • The key to changing the world and pursuing justice and disarmament is to allow the God of peace to disarm our hearts, make us instruments of peace, and lead us together on the road of peace.
    • From the homepage of his official website (2017).

Christianity and Vegetarianism (1990)[edit]

Christianity and Vegetarianism: Pursuing the Nonviolence of Jesus, Norfolk (VA): People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
  • Nonviolence begins with the insights that all life is sacred, that all human beings are children of the God of peace, and that as God’s children, we are under certain obligations. Of course, we should never hurt or kill another human being, wage war, build nuclear weapons, or sit idly by while millions of human beings starve to death each year. Nonviolence invites us, also, to reevaluate the way we treat animals in our society. While we resist violence, injustice, and war, and while we practice nonviolence, seek peace, and struggle for justice for the poor, we are also invited to break down the species barrier, extending our belief in Christian compassion to the animal kingdom by, among other things, adopting a vegetarian diet.
  • Vegetarianism proves that we’re serious about our belief in compassion and justice, that we’re mindful of our commitment, day in and day out, every time we eat. We are reminded of our belief in mercy, and we remind others. We begin to live the nonviolent vision, right here and now.
  • Many Christians who agree that harming a dog or cat is wrong think nothing of harming cows, pigs, chickens, fish and other creatures. We need to understand that if we’re eating meat, we are paying people to be cruel to animals. For the simple reasons that all animals are creatures beloved by God and that God created them with a capacity for pain and suffering, we should adopt a vegetarian diet.
  • I am convinced that society will look back on human arrogance and cruelty toward other animals with the same horror and disbelief that we presently reserve for atrocities committed against human beings.

They Will Inherit the Earth (2018)[edit]

They Will Inherit the Earth: Peace and Nonviolence in a Time of Climate Change, New York: Orbis Books.
  • The only diet for a peacemaker, for an environmentalist, is a vegetarian diet. … I became a vegetarian thirty-five years ago, after reading Frances Moore Lappé's book Diet for a Small Planet, which makes an unassailable case that vegetarianism is the best way to eliminate world hunger as well as to sustain the environment.
  • Our appetite for meat leads to widespread, horrific cruelty to animals—chickens pressed wing-to-wing into filthy sheds and debeaked, for example. And since I've always espoused creative nonviolence as the fundamental gospel value, my vegetarianism helps me not to participate in the vicious torture and destruction of billions of cows, chickens, and so many other creatures. These chickens never raise families, root in the soil, build nests, or do anything natural. … Animals have feelings, they suffer; they have needs and desires. They were created by God to breathe fresh air, raise their families, peck in the grass, or root in the soil. Today's farms don't let them do anything God designed them to do. Animal scientists attest that farm animals have personalities and interests, that chickens and pigs can be smarter than dogs and cats. I like that even Jesus identified himself as “a mother hen who longs to gather us under her wings.”
  • Appreciation of Mother Earth, her creatures, and the glories of the universe is the job of every human being. We were created to live nonviolently in peace with one another on Mother Earth and celebrate the beauty of creation morning, noon, and night.

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