I am a Christian and I stand with my Hindu, Buddhist and Jain friends today at Parliament House to protest against the Meat & Livestock Australia ad for lamb.

Let me say, I do like lamb.

And in many ways I do like the ad for lamb.  

I like the idea of spiritual icons from different traditions sharing a meal together.

And I also like the quirky comic back-and-forth banter going on around the table.

L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, saying that he gave up a meal with Tom Cruise, a high-profile Scientology member, to attend the gathering is wry.

And Jesus performing a “reverse miracle”, turning wine into water, so Greek Goddess Aphrodite, a “designated driver”, can safely drive home, is a nice touch.

But, as the Buddha says in the ad, “let’s address the elephant in the room” – the presence of Ganesh, the beloved Elephant-headed Indian God of Good Fortune.

I really don’t like the way the ad employs a prominent Hindu deity, like Ganesh, to promote eating flesh, when many if not most Hindus, Buddhists and Jains have a long, strong, sacred tradition of practicing ahimsa and not eating meat at all! 

The group marketing manager at Meat & Livestock Australia, Andrew Howie, displays gobsmacking ignorance and blatant disregard for the sensitivities for more than a billion of our Hindu, Buddhist and Jain neighbours, when he says: “In this latest campaign we are showing no matter your beliefs, background or persuasion, the one thing we can all come together and unite over is lamb.”

This is as outrageous as saying Christian countries, like Australia, the UK and the US, should join in a crusade against Muslims countries like Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of the nonviolent Jesus who said don’t kill but “love your neighbour”.

I stand in solidarity with my Hindu, Buddhist and Jain friends today, as I know only too well, the terrible anguish I feel in my heart when a religion that is dear to my heart is cynically used to promote the opposite of what I believe for profit. 

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