Christian Vegetarian Association
Update Newsletters
ake Heart!

Take Heart Contents
| Animal Issues | Articles | Bible | Children | Devotionals | Environment | Food | Health | Opinion | Quotations | Recipes |


Which Christian International Relief Organizations Should We Support?

As, Christians, we are called to follow Jesus’ teachings of compassion, peace and love. Following Jesus means putting these teaching into practice and witness to our neighbors. One way of doing this is by being good stewards of all of God’s creation, spreading the good news about a plant-based diet and supporting the industries, charities and organizations in accordance to our beliefs. This discussion centers on the impact of our choices when we decide to donate to charities.

Hi gang,

I am looking into donating to this organization (Compassion International) by possibly sponsoring a child and have heard many good things about them and the work they do. The only potential conflict is that I don't want my money buying food that contains meat. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is it even worth worrying about? Many of these children live in such deplorable conditions that I almost feel "selfish" for putting my needs (not wanting to harm animals) above the children's needs (getting enough food to eat to avoid starvation/malnutrition). I seem to face this dilemma with all of the non-vegetarian, Christian-based charities that take care of the poor; organizations like World Vision, Food for the Poor, Bright Hope International, etc. I guess I want to have my cake and eat it too! The only food relief vegetarian organization that I have donated to in the past (Food for Life Global) is not Christian-based. Any suggestions?

~ Todd

I do not regard not wanting to harm animals to be a personal need. My desiring not being harmed is a personal need; my not wanting to contribute to harming other individuals reflects others' needs. Given how much animals continue to suffer at human hands, I definitely think that it is worth worrying about. Personally, I favor non-Christian organizations that express core Christian
values of love and compassion for all God's Creation to those that claim Christian ties but show no compassion for God's creatures. Fortunately, there are relief organizations that are vegetarian. Therefore, it seems to me that sponsorship of a Christian animal-based relief organization would express a value that being Christian-based is more important than animal welfare concerns.

~ Steve

Hi Steve,

I agree with what you are saying, but... (if I may play the devil's advocate here for a minute and put this in an Evangelical Christian's perspective) I don't think we should minimize the importance of "evangelizing" to the world's poor. As Christians, we believe that salvation comes thru Jesus Christ and by supporting Christian-based relief organizations, we are helping spread the "Good
News" and hopefully "saving" more people from a life of torment and misery in hell. If we believe in heaven, isn't saving a life for eternity the most important thing? The abuses that animals receive are atrocious indeed, but we have no control over their "eternal" lives, only God does. However, as Christians, we believe that accepting Jesus into our hearts ensures salvation in heaven.

It appears that we, as Christian vegetarians, are put into the precarious position of having to choose between non-Christian, animal welfare/vegetarian organizations and non-vegetarian, Christian organizations... which is most unfortunate! Maybe the CVA can start a new division that provides vegetarian world hunger relief! That would be the best of both worlds.

~ Todd

I wonder what "we believe that accepting Jesus into our hearts ensures salvation in heaven" really means. To me it means to live in accordance to Jesus teachings (compassion, mercy, love and justice towards ALL creatures). Therefore, my actions and my faith must be consistent. It is perfectly possible to spread the gospel and to still try to live to Jesus' highest standards to the best of our abilities. By donating to an organization that does great things to feed the poor and the hungry, but does so at the expense of animal suffering, does not strike me as what Jesus would do. I don't believe it's OK to justify the means to achieve the ends, especially when there are feasible alternatives for the means. One of the ways to spread the gospel, in my opinion, is to responsibly give our money to the organizations whose ends and means reflect our beliefs.

If Christian organizations start realizing that they are losing financial support from people like us, maybe they'll also start doing things differently (i.e. provide plant-based foods for the poor and the hungry of the world).

~ Lorena


Unfortunately Christians are not united in what they believe is at the core of Christianity. The notion that accepting Jesus into one's heart ensures salvation in heaven is not a bad idea if we could only agree on what "salvation", "heaven" and "hell" are. That's, however, a different topic for a different forum.

That said, I feel that your proposition that we "should not minimize the importance of evangelizing to the poor" is not uncharacteristic of first-world capitalization of other people's misfortune. The poor are typically easy targets for evangelization because they are desperate. In order to survive they will accept all manner of terms including "accepting Jesus into their hearts". I have seen this first-hand in India where hordes of evangelical Christians are pouring in from the U.S. and European countries and offer monetary and material incentives (I think they're bribes) to poor non-Christians who will either attend their crusades or better yet "accept Jesus as their lord and savior". I'd say the challenge for evangelists would be to evangelize the millionaires and the billionaires of this world - see if you can get them to stop wrecking God's Creation with their unbridled consumption.

Personally, if I had to choose between a good non-Christian organization that performs relief work with no strings attached to their giving and a Christian organization that's primarily out to evangelize I'd choose the non-Christian organization all the time.

Lastly, from what I know the CVA is not a typical Christian evangelical organization. The CVA primarily attempts to bring existing Christians to embrace vegetarianism and I doubt it has that much to do with actively bringing non-Christians to Christianity.

~ Stephen

I appreciate Stephen's remarks. I think it is most accurate to say that the CVA does not try to actively convert people to Christianity in the sense that we are aggressive about the Christian message. Instead, we try to show the world that being Christian is compatible with love and compassion for all God's Creation, and this may encourage people who have rejected Christianity as callous and heart-hearted to consider embracing the faith. Further, it may encourage Christians to embrace Christianity that, we believe, more fully accords with Jesus' ministry. Calling oneself Christian and being Christian are not necessarily the same thing.

People spread the CVA message in a wide range of ways, and I don't consider CVA to have only one theology, view, or approach. As long as CVA activists show compassion and love, we give them a lot of latitude to witness as they see fit. Our role is to provide responsible, effective tools (e.g., literature and videos) to assist their efforts. Speaking only for myself, (but not all CVA
members), I focus the "faith of Christ" more than "faith in Christ." I think this approach is scripturally sound, for reasons discussed in essay #81 of the series Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence www.christianveg.com/violence_view.htm

~ Steve

Return to Discussions

Your question and comments are welcome

Copyright 2005 © Christian Vegetarian Association. All rights reserved.

| Home Page | Bibliography | Blog | Books, T-shirts, Etc. | Community | Contact Us | CVA Board | CVA Videos | Essays and Coloring Book | Honoring God's Creation | How to Help | Links | Membership | Mission | Podcast | Take Heart | Vegetarianism's Benefits |

This site is hosted and maintained by
The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation.