Cross-posted from Urbanagora...
Once upon a time, there was a virtuous Public Relations man named Marty. He was always careful to cross the street only at the corners, gave beggars his spare change, and drove his car under the speed limit.
One day, while Marty was at Culver’s, God spoke to him.
“MARTY, PUT DOWN THAT CHEESBURGER.”
Marty looked around, figuring that the voice had come over the speakers in the restaurant. He was just about to take another bite when a spark flew between the burger and his nose. He dropped the unfinished sandwich and dabbed the scorched spot on his face with a napkin.
“I TOLD YOU TO PUT THE CHEESBURGER DOWN. THIS IS GOD. I AM IN NEED OF A PROPHET, FOR MAN IS EATING THE ANIMALS WITH WHICH I HAVE GRACED THE EARTH. THIS MUST STOP, NOW, LEST MY RATH BE FELT. YOU, MARTY, SHALL BE THAT PROPHET.”
Marty looked around, but no one else seemed to have heard the booming voice. Since one does not refuse God, he agreed to be His prophet and guide mankind away from the misuse of His creatures. He left the restaurant that day with a mission.
Marty was a good ad-man as well as being a good man. Soon, pamphlets and posters were everywhere, outlining an irrefutable case for vegan living. Converted movie stars bought full-page ads in the New York Times that showed imprisoned chickens and tortured veal calves.
The CEOs of the food industry called a special meeting to deal with the problems that Marty presented. They launched an ad blitz to counter the one the vegans were promoting. Their lobbyists in the government got legislation passed that would tie subsidies for school lunches to a minimum amount of meat in them. They gave grants to research institutions that would prove animal products to be essential to the health of human beings, especially children.
Now, Marty’s followers were in a panic. There was now no way in which they could live their lives without having themselves and their children surrounded by the foods that God had forbidden. One teenage girl, Nellie, became fond of lying to her parents and going to Steak n’ Shake after school instead of Bible study. Others of the followers had just one egg, every now and then, with breakfast.
Marty realized that they were all in trouble, so he prayed. “What shall we do, God? My followers are being tempted by the fleshpots of the world. How can we stay pure to our message and do Your Will?”
“MARTY, YOU SHALL GO TO TEXAS.”
“Please, God, not Texas, take this bitter cup from me, please.”
“YOU SHALL GO TO TEXAS AND MAKE A CITY FOR ME. IN THIS CITY, ANIMALS SHALL BE HELD SACRED. YOU SHALL WEAR NOTHING FROM THEIR SKINS. YOU SHALL NOT DRINK OF THEIR MILK OR EAT OF THEIR EGGS. YOU SHALL NOT EAT OF THE MEAT OF THEIR BODIES, LEST YE DIE. GO NOW; LEAD YOUR PEOPLE TO THE PROMISED LAND.”
Doing as he was told, Marty gathered his followers—young and old, white, brown, and black, Republican and Democrat, and took them to a place in Texas where there were only a few other people. There, they built a prosperous city and lived in harmony with each other and the world.
All was not well, however. The others who lived within that county were jealous, for the vegans were prosperous, had beautiful homes, and voted for those who agreed with their God’s plan.
The minister at the Baptist Church said, “God doesn’t talk to anyone directly. Marty must be a false prophet. They are doing the work of Satan and must be stopped.”
The old fat lady at the beauty shop said, “Have you seen the way that they dress? None of them weigh much over 150 pounds—it’s not natural. They never come into town to go to restaurants or buy food at the grocery stores, there’s got to be something wrong going on out there.”
Then, the cattlemen said, “They don’t eat meat. Look at this here research—meat is essential for the well-being of people. It’s all right for adults to act in crazy ways, but think of those poor, abused children who will never be healthy in their lives.”
The county officials shook their heads. “We can’t do anything about this. No one knows what really goes on inside their compound. We can make contingency plans for a case where we have justification, but don’t expect anything anytime soon.”
Nellie, the girl who liked cheeseburgers, was hungry at lunch one day. She pushed the tofu on her plate out of the way and speared the broccoli with disgust. She would have liked to go into town to the Jack in the Box, but her parents had forbidden it. Damn it, she knew how to get even. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket as soon as her parents were working in the garden and punched out the number of Child Protective Services.
“Hello, I’m from the compound down the road. Yeah, I want to report child abuse. I am being forced to eat an unnatural diet that doesn’t have what I need, nutritionally. No, I can’t give you my name, I’m afraid I’d be punished.”
This was the chance that the officials had been waiting for. The friendly judge issued a warrant and police and social-service agents raided the compound, hauling off all of the children who lived there. They grudgingly allowed the children’s mothers to come along with them to the compound where they were taken, but neither Marty nor the other men were allowed to come along. Nellie smiled to herself as she rode in the van with the other children.
Lawyers were appointed for the children, even though none of them asked. Four or five days later, when none of the children had told of anything unusual other than the restriction of diet, the mothers were sent back to the compound, since the social-service agents claimed abused children were more likely to tell of it if separated from their parents. Finally, after repeated questioning, a few of the children told of being punished by spanking or of being sent to their room without supper for discipline.
This was all that the authorities needed. Mass trials were held, the vegans were held as unfit parents and the children were sent to adoptive homes where they ate meat and wore leather and furs, just like everyone else. None of them ever saw their parents again. Nellie devoured steak after steak and married a cattle rancher.
Marty was convicted of child abuse and endangerment and sent to prison for twenty years where he died after being raped by three men who chanted “child abuser” while they took turns beating him during sex.
God, realizing mankind had not learned anything in the last two thousand years, sadly pushed his halo back and returned to making Dark Matter.