When Meats Are Offered to Idols. . .
Vol: 122 Issue: 22 Tuesday, November 22, 2011
There was a story in today’s Worldnetdaily that caught my eye this morning, mainly, I suppose, because it is about turkey and Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow.
It deals with the fact that Butterball turkeys are all slaughtered according to the Islamic halal code.
I confess I hadn’t really given it much thought — I always assumed that “halal” is to Islam what kosher is to Judaism.
In both cases, I knew the animal to be slaughtered is slaughtered according to religious rules, but that’s as far as I carried any investigation.
For example, I prefer kosher hot dogs because I know they are made out of pure beef, no organ meat and no pork. However, I never gave any thought to the rituals involved.
Whenever it came up, I simply cited Acts 10:14-15 in my mind and let it go at that.
“But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”
I have always taken that passage at face value; I confess I had never done a study on it. I believe that I may be guilty of a sin of omission, for I certainly should have. Let’s examine the passage again.
Peter says he’s never eaten anything “common or unclean”, which I assumed to mean, not kosher. The Voice told Peter, what God hath cleansed is kosher.
What I missed here is the part, “what God hath cleansed.”
Indeed, the Bible says that even Peter had some trouble understanding what the vision meant.
“Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.” (Acts 10:17)
The Bible does NOT say that there are no dietary restrictions imposed on Christians. According to Acts 15, Christians do not have to keep kosher, or to be circumcised, or to keep the Law of Moses. Peter, James and Paul each had their say.
The Apostle Peter argued that Gentiles did not have to embrace the law in order to be Christians, arguing that the Holy Ghost indwells Gentile Christians the same as He does Messianic Jews.
“And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”
“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” (Acts 15:8-11)
The Apostle James, (the Lord’s half-brother) also weighed in with his opinion:
“Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” (Acts 15:18-20)
The meeting ended with a decision by the Apostles to send letters to the Gentile Churches in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia clarifying the responsibilities imposed by God upon the Gentile Churches:
“Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul. . .” (Acts 15:24-25)
Keep in mind the topic at hand. Should the Blood-bought, born again followers of Christ be subject to the Law of Moses, which includes the obligation to keep kosher.
“For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” (Acts 15:28-29)
“As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.” (Acts 21:25)
So I never gave much thought to whether or not I should keep kosher. As Peter asked the group, “Why yoke the Gentiles to the Law of Moses that we can’t keep, either?”
It is abundantly clear to me from Scripture that Christians are not obligated to keep kosher. The Lord Himself explained the principle when queried by the Apostle Peter, (whom Scriptures portray as a real stickler for ritual):
“And He saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. (Mark 7:18-20)
So why would any Christian find it disturbing to discover that Butterball turkeys are certified as Halal? After all, the Lord says that what goes in the belly cannot defile a man’s heart. So what’s the deal?
There is almost no difference between halla meats slaughtered according to Sharia law and kosher meats slaughtered according to the Mosaic law. The two are so similar that in some cases, Muslims can substitute kosher foods for halal, if necessary.
There is one main difference between halal foods and kosher of which I was not aware until I read the WND piece. Kosher meats can never be considered Dhabiha by Muslims.
In order to be considered Dhabiha, the animal must be sacrificed to Allah. During the slaughter ritual, the following words are said over the animal. Bismillah allahu akbar which means; “in the name of Allah the greatest.”
Now, let’s revisit the Jerusalem Doctrine regarding Gentiles and the law of Moses, as it was agreed upon by the Twelve and then sent out in letters (epistles) to the Gentile Churches.
“That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled.”
According to the WND piece, Butterball officials confirmed three things.
- Butterball turkeys are slaughtered according to halal ritual.
- The words bismilla allahu akbar are said over each Butterball turkey as it is being slaughtered, and;
- The company does not put this information on the label
I did a little digging to see what other food products are sold in the United States but are prepared according to Islamic ritual and certified as halal. Here is one list of American foods prepared as halal — it is nine-pages long!
A few highlights from this document — let’s start at the beginning with babies. Nestle baby formula, Similac, Enfamil, Gerber and Carnation baby foods are all halal. So your baby has probably already eaten food sacrificed to idols.
If your kids grow “strong bodies twelve ways” by eating Wonder bread, they are eating halal. Or HomePride, or Orowheat or Butternut or Nature’s Own or Stroehmann or . . . well, if you eat bread, you are eating halal.
If you like Burger King french fries, you will be happy to know that you are keeping halal. Or if you like Thomas’s English Muffins. Land O Lakes butter is halal. Taco Bell is halal. So is McDonalds. Ditto for Subway’s.
So, what’s the takeaway, here? It is plain from the Scriptures that Christians are enjoined from eating food sacrificed to idols. It is equally plain from the news that companies like Butterball don’t care.
They care if it offends Muslims, otherwise they wouldn’t go to the extra trouble to prepare Butterball turkeys according to Islamic ritual. They clearly don’t care if that offends Christians. Let’s just stick to the American market for a minute.
The American Muslim population according to the US federal government’s own statistics amounts to about 0.7% of the US population. Less than one percent.
The American Christian population amounts to about 80% of the US population, give or take a percentage point (which would exceed the ENTIRE Muslim population).
It isn’t that Butterball is unaware of the fact some Christians wouldn’t eat a Butterball turkey if they knew it had been sacrificed to Allah, and because even 1% of Christians would exceed the entire US Muslim market, Butterball does not label its birds as ‘halal.’
It isn’t a marketing decision. It is an ideological decision. If it was a marketing decision, they would not risk offending its majority Christian market by defiling the turkey we’ll all be giving thanks to God for on Thursday.
“What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” (Acts 10:15)
That is how God cleanses our food. We say grace and ask His blessing over it. If you didn’t know, then it wouldn’t matter.
But now, you know that before you offer your Thanksgiving dinner blessing by God, your dinner has already been submitted for blessing by Allah.
It isn’t Islamophobic for a Christian to object to allowing Islam to define Who the Christian God is, which is what Islam attempts to do when it insists that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
It is simple logic. The Christian God sent His only begotten Son, whereas the god of Islam denies that he has a son. So right off the bat, they are different.
And things (or gods) that are different cannot be the same.