In cancer news yesterday, bacon was compared to tobacco and asbestos.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.
“The (Lancet) conclusion puts processed meats in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking and asbestos,” says the World Health Organization – but, the International Agency for Research on Cancer helpfully adds that “this does not mean that they are equally dangerous.” Good to know.
For the record, a lot of things we love are known carcinogens: sunshine, pickles, aloe vera, and Crème fraîche. Some carcinogens are obviously worse than others, and it’s clear that eating mounds of salami every day is a terrible idea.
And is this a spiritual question?
Our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers may say, “We told you so” or rather – God told us so according to the Hebrew Scriptures and the Quran (via the prophets.) We Christians believe that Jesus offers a new law that sets us free from “the old law” (although tell that to our Christian kinfolk who cling to some of the abomination passages in Leviticus.) Many of us have been eating pork with reckless abandon all our lives – especially on Christian holidays.
And what do our vegetarian sisters and brothers say to all this – especially if their dietary choices are faith-based?
Do we embrace:
- Live and let live? (You can eat pork bellies, but I don’t have to.)
- Everything in moderation? (A favorite of people who like candy and porn.)
- Let’s tax bacon like Bloomberg tried to tax Big Gulps in NYC?
- My body is a temple and therefore no more bacon will pass my lips?
All of us clearly fall short of the glory of God, so – bacon or no bacon – we will not always get it right. But here’s my quandary as a pastor to pastors: can we figure out a way to have healthy conversations with each other about other things that are “bad for us” and bad for our people (i.e. “stumbling blocks“) like . . . adultery, alcoholism, eating our feelings, overworking, having a savior complex, being financially irresponsible, and lying to ourselves?
These are the issues that hurt more people that bacon consumption, if you ask me. And I say this as a person who hates cancer a lot.
Image of the popular and delicious Flight of Bacon at Bakin’ & Eggs – 3120 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.