Hey PETA; you and I know that it's certainly a multi-faith culture we live in these days: my Muslim friends go to the Mosque; my Buddhist friends do their meditation days; my Catholic friends go to Mass and tell their beads; my Quaker mates all sit quietly in their room together - and all of this is fine by me.
So I've got no problem with Buddhists; hell, I even used to think I was one. It was a while back, sure, but if anyone asked me what religion I was then, I used to say: Well, I suppose I'm a kind of Buddhist, really.
In those days, when I thought I was a Buddhist, I too, in imitation of the Buddha, followed a vegetarian diet - I was even a Vegan for about six months, living mainly on black coffee, beer, chips and peanut butter, as I recall. But, as I say, that was a while back, and my views have changed a little since then.
These days (and beside me saying it's the case, God knows there's little enough evidence of it - but that's another matter) what faith I do have tends to centre around the comparatively unattractive figure of that strange, occasionally rather grumpy-seeming, non-vegetarian man who ended up being nailed to a tree by his fellow religious professionals - way over in occupied Palestine - a couple of thousand years ago. These days - and with all the respect that's due to the devotees of other faiths - I'm not, actually, a Buddhist.
Now I know religious leaders don't tend to be in the habit of canvassing votes as regards their rule; they don't see that as being in their job description, I suppose - and maybe they're right about that. They do the religious leader thing - issue encyclicals, dictates, bulls, fatwas and the like - and their followers, well, they follow those rules. In a country that tolerates religious freedom people don't have to follow the rules of the religions they don't personally subscribe to.
Call me a bourgeois old liberal if you will, but personally I'm in favour of that set-up.
Now in theocracies, as far as I understand these things, the matter is rather different. In a theocracy, the leaders of the State and the religious leaders tend to wear the same hat - because, of course, they're wearing the same head (and that's admirably Green as regards sustainable hat production, of course). In a theocracy, there's just the law; it's a religious law, and you have to obey it, since it's the law of the land as well and there's no separate appeal court there that'd be willing to lend an ear about it not suiting you all that well.
Now, as far as I'm aware, I don't live in a theocracy. Gordon Brown has his own personal beliefs but if people think his policies favour the tenets of his own particular faith, to the radical detriment of others, then he'll get a kicking at the ballot box from those other faith practitioners - and he'll deserve it. England is not a theocracy.
If people of a country genuinely want a theocracy, then OK, they want a theocracy - good for them.
In countries where there isn't a theocratic government - in multi-faith countries, say, like the UK, Europe and the States - there, leaders and devotees of religious groups do need to be tolerant towards the different faith-based and secular cultures that surround them. There, within the boundaries of the secular law that they all agree to, they don't get to say what other people should or shouldn't do.
Aggressive, proselytizing missionary conversion tactics on the part of one faith-community as regards their fellow citizens who happen to belong to other faiths - or to those who profess no faith at all - that sort of thing really has no place in a modern, tolerant, multi-faith state.
A central part of Buddhist belief is concerned with showing 'compassion to all living things'; so that means most Buddhists have some form of vegetarianism as a part of the practise of their particular religious faith.
And that's fine; that's absolutely fine by me. Multi-faith tolerance? It's a good thing; you want to be a vegetarian because the Buddha was a vegetarian too? Well then, great, superb; good for you.
But, please, if you want to be good citizens of this admittedly rather complicated thing that's called a 'democracy' - then have the decency to let other people practise their faith, or their non-faith, unmolested. You want to be Buddhists? Fine, great - but I'm not a Buddhist. So this publication of yours, 'Your Daddy Kills Animals', this is actually a highly aggressive example of a very crude form of religious indoctrination. It's exactly a proselytizing, missionary tract that's aimed at bullying children into adopting the beliefs and practises of your particular faith.
This, I'd say, is precisely not the way that members of faith communities should behave towards others who do not subscribe to their particular beliefs.
We do not live in a theocracy. We get to choose what we believe in - and so should our children.
So cut it out.