The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


What should I bring?

Need to know whether it's OK to serve shrimp when Jewish friends visit or to offer wine as a gift to a Hindu friend? You may be surprised to learn that the old Lutheran standby — the molded gelatin salad — is offensive to Muslims and Jews because gelatin is derived from animals that are neither halal nor kosher.

A Lutheran staff member recently found herself in this predicament: determining whether cream-cheese brownies were an appropriate potluck contribution for a party at her Sikh neighbors' home. She'd been served yogurt at langar (the traditional Sikh after-services lunch), so she supposed dairy products were fine. But she wasn't sure eggs were allowed. So she consulted www.faithandfood.com, where she discovered that although Sikh dietary practices vary, none exclude dairy products.

Nine religions' dietary practices are outlined on the site: Bahá'í, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.

Of these, Bahá'ís, Christians and Zoroastrians observe the least restrictive diets. The section on Christianity begins: "Most Christians are omnivores and have no moral or religious objection to eating meat of any kind, though some fast on Fridays or during Lent mainly for spiritual reasons."


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February issue


Embracing diversity