Easter Sacrifice of the Lambs
Rabbi Lerner’s Note: The argument presented below as a critique of Christian practice is equally applicable to Jewish and Muslim practice as well as to the tens of millions of secularists who do the exact same thing but without giving it a religious sanction.
EASTER: SACRIFICE OF THE LAMBS…
roast leg of lamb: traditional offering for Easter
EASTER: SACRIFICE OF THE LAMBS…
While Christianity claims to have done away with the ‘burnt offering’ or sacrifice of the Old Testament, it has not:.
“Because Jesus is symbolized as a Lamb…and that is like one of His names or titles….He IS the Lamb of God…..Who takes away the sin of the world….and in “type”…He is the Lamb Who was provided for the burnt offering…..” http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090413075531AAE6UGx
There are several problems with this statement. First, sacrifice is widespread, but has taken on the form of animals slaughtered for celebratory meals. Sacrifice is constant and ongoing as sumptuous meat laden meals to celebrate the sacrifice of the ‘lamb of god’.. Aimals are still losing their lives as an offering to the glory of god . In addition, the myth of this sacrifice is permeated by horrific violence to the human Jesus. This obsession with violence, cruelty and gore was noted by a colleague:
“A note to all happy families gathering around tables with a centerpiece of a murdered innocent – enjoy.
Apparently God thought no more of his “only begotten son” than a piece of meat – for, after all, he had his only son tortured and crucified because he was pissed at Adam and Eve and some of their offspring – so – Jesus is now heroically called “the lamb of god” and that’s ok with most Christians. Kill the human “lamb of god,” then eat the human “lamb of god” at communion time while crossing yourself, and then to celebrate Easter, go take a living, breathing, real baby lamb and eat that, too. Good killing and Good Eating.
P.S. If no baby lambs are available at your local market, and your neighbor farmer won’t sell you a baby lamb, a pig will do.” - name with held
This insight is remarkable, as it highlights the irrational and sadistic nature of the sacrifice one’s child for the greater good of humanity. Time and history have shown that a goal of compassion or salvation based on violence rarely results in the intended aim. Often the results are sweet words of compassion undermined by a reality of cruel and seething violence, allegedly justified for the benefit of the greater good. This reality is true for animals, as well as humans. When we allow for the slaughter of an animal for human benefit the violence generated serves only to increase justified bloodshed. The sacrifice of one life for another viewed as higher in the self-serving hierarchy of dominion, increases the potential for human on human violence and murder.
One image typically representative of this cruel contradiction is that of the shepherd guarding his sheep. As metaphor for the lord as shepherd over mankind, it is equally imbued with the double speak of dominion. Consider that the function of a shepherd is to keep the sheep safe from predators and harm, so that his master may kill them. They are not kept as compassion animals. The reality of this terrible irony was expressed by the following comment:
“When we lived in Belgium, there was a small farm in the back of our house. Every spring, these sweet little lambs would greet me at our back fence, I petted them, gave them treats….when Easter came, they were all gone, and I never put 2 and 2 together, until later.” name with held
For those who understand that all life is sacred, there is no redemption or salvation in the slaughter of innocent animals. To take the life of a baby lamb, who wants to live and experience his/her lambness, slaughter is the mark of a religion that has failed to understand the nature of respect for life, as lovely images co-exist alongside of and cover over a violent reality.
what’s in a name…
Sacrifice expressed as a feast of flesh is exemplified by the Easter menu of Whole Foods, brought to you courtesy of genesis. The animals chosen to be sacrificed for the celebration of easter by Whole Foods are the pig, the lamb, salmon and the turkey as follows, all served up to celebrate another gratuitous and sadistic sacrifice:
Apricot Marmalade Glazed Ham
Apricot jam, clove, honey, and zesty mustard seed create a camelized crust arount our spiral ham
Grilled Mediterranean Lamb Top Round
Boneless New Zealand lamb marinated in olive oil and herbs and grilled to perfection.
(note: lambs are not born boneless)
Grilled salmon with tomatoes, olive green beans and poratoes in an herbed lemon zest dressing.
Honey Spiced Turkey Breast
Lightly browned, slow roasted turkey breast, finished with a moroccan spice and rich honey glaze.
As long as Christianity allows for the slaughter of animals as ordained by genesis…all the sweet words and pretense of a sacrifical lamb fall by the wayside, as animals are still being sacrificed in abundance.
Those who understand that celebration based on carnage is a tainted illusion would do well to end support of such traditions and the religions that prosper by it. They understand that animals sacrificed for vicious ritual that glorifies the taking of one life to enhance another. is no path to redemption.
“All beings with two, three, four or five senses in fact, all creation know individually pleasure and displeasure, pain, terror and sorrow. ALL are full of fears which come from all directions. And yet there exist people who would cause greater pain to them…Some kill animals for sacrifice, some for their skin, flesh, blood, feathers, teeth or tusks…He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin…He who understands the nature of sin against animals is called a Sage.” Jain Acharanga Sutra