Eat vegetarian this lent

February 14th marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, when Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.

The call to abstain from eating animals is as current as the teaching of evangelical leader Franklin Graham, yet as traditional as the Bible (Genesis 1:29). Methodist founder John Wesley, Salvation Army pioneers William and Catherine Booth, and Seventh-day Adventist Church founder Ellen G. White all followed this higher call.

A meat-free diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. A United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals routinely caged, crowded, mutilated, and beaten.

Today's supermarkets are well in tune with the call to abstain from eating animals. They offer a rich array of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams, as well as the more traditional vegetables, fruits, and grains. Entering “vegetarian” or "vegan" in your favorite search engine provides lots of meat replacement products, recipes, and transition tips.

Ruben Myers

Rapid City

Senate bills gives state a bad name

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South Dakota should receive national attention for the beauty of our state, our Native American culture and heritage, our help thy neighbor philosophy and South Dakotan’s work ethic to name only a few. But alas, it is the legislative season and instead of celebrating the many things to be proud of, I again see that we are making the national news for backward, divisive, misguided legislation dealing with gay and transgender issues. This year the far right fringe has managed to introduce 2 bills attacking transgender South Dakotans.

The first, SB 160, would prohibit K-7 teachers from discussing, in any way, gender identity issues. The second bill, SB 202 would require posting warning signs on public restrooms “that a person of the opposite sex may be in the restroom the user is about to enter.”

I am not making this up. To no ones surprise, Representative Phil Jensen is the author. Mr. Jensen, stop wasting our tax dollars on an issue that polling data clearly shows an overwhelming majority of citizens are simply not concerned about. Start thinking about South Dakotans rather than your own prejudices and obsession with gay and transgender people in our state. 

Steve Babbitt

Rapid City

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