The orthodox Christian theology of Hadley Robinson

Time to Panic: Costco is allegedly selling halal chicken

by Hadley Robinson

Someone sent me these remarks about Costco’s alleged sale of halal chicken and how our purchasing the same amounts to idol worship.

…I did some shopping at Costco on Saturday. Nothing too special, just looking to pick up some meat to BBQ. My eldest son was down with his fiancée from Iowa, so we wanted to have some family time. My wife and I worked our way past the various displays and only picked up an ice chest to keep the meat from spoiling on the return trip to Magdalena, (we were strong willed for a change). We arrived at the refrigerated section and began the difficult task of choosing our cuts of meat for the family get together. Right away, I spotted the chicken breasts, they were already boneless and vacuum sealed. The price was good as it was organic chicken from Oregon, but then I saw on the sign a note that stopped me cold.

The whole chickens that looked wonderful for the family bar-b-que [sic], just a moment before, were now an offense to me. Right on the sign were the words Certified Halal.

Halal is the Islamic term that basically means the meat is lawful to eat for a devout Muslim. What makes it lawful or acceptable is that the meat has been processed in a very specific way. Now, you may think that this is no different than meat that is acceptable to the Jewish people or kosher. Unlike kosher food, where the physical processing of the meat is the focus, for Islam it is the spiritual component that makes the meat lawful.

For lawful (halal) meat in Islam, the animal must be killed while the butcher faces Mecca, and either the butcher cries Allah Akbar or a tape plays the words over a loud speaker. Understand, that when they face Mecca, they face the black stone, the very definition of idol worship.

I am glad that Costco is finally telling us plainly that the meat is halal or sacrificed to an idol, but I have a feeling that this not to benefit the Christian, but rather the muslim [sic]. I will state again that I have not fear of a lifeless false god, but the book of Acts plainly tells us that we are not to eat meat sacrificed to idols. The false religion of Islam continues to make inroads into America as they attempt to force some of our communities to submit to Sharia law and demand that halal food be sold in mainstream stores.

I would point out that normally this type of food has been called ethnic food or given a special section like the Chinese food or whatever. That is not what we see here. This food is being sold with the standard fair, and one must read the small labels on the back of the food to find out if it is halal or not.

I believe in freedom of religion. What I am starting to observe, however, is that one religion (currently the minority) is being given a wide berth and allowed special status. Those that know their Bible are not surprised by this, we are talking about the religion of the anti-Christ after all. But it still amazes me that it can (as the Bible predicted) happen so suddenly and without anyone really taking notice….

Concerning halal meat, here are some thoughts (and I think I have the Spirit of Christ, being faithful to His Word and its context).

  1. It’s entirely possible that the Creator has raised up Islam for the purpose of judging the West for its sins:  Murder of the unborn, idolatry of money, adultery, and immorality.

    Muslims will be majorities in most of Europe in 45 years if nothing changes.  Most people only look ahead a week or two, if that, and the more reflective might look ahead to their own retirement but rarely beyond, just like King Hezekiah (2Kings 20:19).  As a result, few care about 45 years out into the future – it might as well be an eternity.

  2. With this in mind, our opposing Islam may result in our fighting against God – a common paradigm in Scripture concerning the purpose of enemies (e.g. Acts 5:39).  Islam played this role at times in the late first millennium A.D. including the destruction of Constantinople in 1453 A.D.  I only say this in the same way Jeremiah counseled the people of Jerusalem concerning the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 27:6 ff.)  That is, we need to consider the role of Islam in God’s plan for the world including the tragedy of 9/11.  It is just like Him to use an army of bloody cutthroats to do His will.  These are, then, warnings from the Creator about what is to come – not random, chaotic events dependent on our own efforts for success or failure.

    Most have a Deistic view of life (God “wound the clock”, walked away, and now it’s all up to us…).  But this view robs the Creator of His supreme and irrevocable role in appointing the times and locations of peoples and by whom they are ruled (e.g. Daniel 4:25; Acts 17:26; Romans 13).  I must be careful about adopting Deistic views, as most/all of the Founders of the United States did, including John Locke.  It is not a Biblical view of the world but I love thinking that I can change the direction we are going if I just get out there with enough enthusiasm and money.

  3. Islam is a form of monotheistic heathenism.  For all its faults, one thing Islam does abhor and that is the creation of idols or images of anything under Heaven.  In this way, the writer of the halal essay above is incorrect and needs help.  One need only go into your average Greek Orthodox Church, for example, and then visit a Mosque … and observe.  I do not believe any sane person would fail to wonder who may have created things that could be considered idols.  Mosques appear more like Quaker Meeting houses – stripped of pictures, paintings, or statues of any earthly or heavenly being.  In another way, the Church has pushed the limit to the extreme of a loose interpretation of the 2nd Commandment starting from around the early 4th century A.D.  That is, if I really loved God as I ought (the 1st Royal Commandment) would I have any images, pictures, movies, or paintings in His likeness?
  4.  The writer’s warning, “Be on guard not to eat food offered to idols!” is a personal decision. The woman or man here ignores the plain teaching of Scripture and misuses another:

    Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."  If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.  But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake– the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours.  For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience?  If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? -1Corinthians 10:25-30

    The command given in Acts 15:20 is a prohibition against eating non-Kosher meat – meat that still has the blood in it.  (This command in Genesis 9:4 was given before Abraham and Moses and still applies today.)

  5. We should not be alarmist busybodies even though I appreciate the writer's concern that we not be idolatrous in any way.  If I am going to be zealous about avoiding idolatry, I should start with covering up paintings, photos, or depictions of the Christ because it would be impossible for me or anyone alive after the 1st century to correctly identify Him in a line-up.

    That is, all depictions of him are inaccurate and, therefore, false. Every eyewitness of the Christ is dead. None of them painted a picture of Him (nor would they, I think, we can assume).  If the writer of this halal essay experiences horror with the prospect of purchasing chicken at Costco, it is a matter between him and God, as it should be.  But he has crossed the line in pushing this on the Church and falls among those condemned in Colossians 2:20-23.  How this stuff gets passed around and considered seriously by Christians amazes me sometimes.  We must work harder in being discerning.

May we all – and I in particular – live lives that demonstrate a converted heart filled with love for our Savior and for others and not be diverted by small stuff, especially the kinds of food we eat. Therefore, may our energies and attentions be focused on doing good and living holy lives because it is for this purpose that we have been called, set apart, and sanctified (2 Timothy 1:9).