Religion

Quotations concerning pigs
and divine attention

Priest kissing a pig

Praise the lard, friends, and though you’ve probably never heard a hog call at the alter rail, you should be aware that the swine (or at least their expressly dictated absence) have a firm foothold as a topic of religious conversation.

For swine, you see, whether rooting, frying or drowning are still creatures of divine attention.


It is easy to see why in the warm lands, which were the cradles of the infant races, the hog, with its sagacity, its quickness to learn, and its attachment for man, should have furnished the theme for a totemic demigod; indeed, it is highly probable that this totem has yet many followers.

Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975)
Curator of the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song and folklore editor of the Federal Writers’ Project.A Treasury of American Folklore (1944).

As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout,
so is a fair woman who is without discretion.

King James Bible
Proverbs 11:22.

Piety, n.: reverence for the Supreme Being, based upon His supposed resemblance to man.
   The pig is taught by sermons and epistles
   To think the God of Swine has snout and bristles.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?)
U.S. writer and journalist. The Devil’s Dictionary (1906).

Do not give what is holy to dogs —
they will only turn and attack you.

Do not throw your pearls in front of swine —
they will only trample them underfoot.

Jesus Christ (c. 3 BC-33 AD)
From the “Sermon on the Mount.” King James Bible, Matthew 7:6.

St Anthony is universally known for the patron of hogs, having a pig for a page in all pictures, though for what reason is unknown, except, because being a hermit, and having a cell or hole digged in the earth, and having his general repast on roots, he and hogs did in some sort enter-common both in their diet and in their lodging.

Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)
History of the Worthies of England (1662).

But for one piece they found it hard
   From the whole hog to be debar’d;
And set their wit at work to find
   What joint the prophet had in mind…
Thus, conscience freed from every clog,
   Mahometans eat up the hog.

William Cowper (1731-1800)
English poet and hymnodist. “The Love of the World Reproved; or Hypocrisy Revisited” (1779).

Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal) and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter, and what is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols) and that you divide by the arrows; that is a transgression.

The literal word of God as revealed to Muhammad (570-632 AD)
The Holy Qur’an, 5.3, translated by M.H. Shakir and published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc., in 1983.

And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.

King James Bible
Deuteronomy, 14:8, — discourses attributed to Moses and given to the Israelites, in the plains of Moab just before his death at the age of 120.

If fruit was the first temptation,
PORK was probably the second.

National Pork Producers Council
A U.S. Trade Organization. Print Advertisement in THE NEW YORKER, May 27, 1996. It included is a recipe for Peach-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops.

O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you…
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail
Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
English dramatist and poet. Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 4.

   (for Jaqueline)
If only sweet little pig babies
Need not grow up at all!
Oh, butcher mills grind swiftly
And they grind exceedingly small!

Isabel Vallè
Epitaphs of Some Dear Dumb Beasts (1916).

Oh, pig… So close to the earth, so far from God.

Attributed to St. Anthony (250?-356? AD)
Founder of Christian monasticism and patron saint of pigs and swineherds.

   For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
   And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
   And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
   Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
   And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
   And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
   And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
   And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

King James Bible
Mark 5: 8-13, “The Gadarene Swine.”

The Catholic Church may wish to conduct mass in Pig Latin, as it combines the solemnity of Latin with the accessibility of English. It is my sincere hope that this work will be of value to scholars, researchers, native speakers of Pig Latin, and all those who wish to further their understanding of scripture by seeing it presented in new terms. As it is said, “Inay ethay eginningbay asway ethay Ordway…”

Earl Vickers
Translator of the King James version of the Holy Bible into Pig Latin.

I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hell-fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world, and gave the world generations of cruel torture; and the Christ of the Gospels, if you could take Him as his chroniclers represent Him, would certainly have to be considered partly responsible for that. There are other things of less importance. There is the instance of the Gadarene swine, where it certainly was not very kind to the pigs to put the devils into them and make them rush down the hill into the sea. You must remember that He was omnipotent, and He could have made the devils simply go away; but He chose to send them into the pigs.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
British philosopher, mathematician, and social critic. “Why I am Not a Christian,” an address on March 6, 1927, to the National Secular Society, South London branch, at the Town Hall, Battersea, London.

   And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
   And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
   And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
   And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
   And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
   I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
   And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
   And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Jesus Christ (3 BC-33 AD)
King James Bible, Luke 15, 13-20, “The Prodigal Son.”

For I will consider my black sow Blackula
For she is the servant of the god of the feed bucket and serveth him.
For she worships the god in him and the secret of his pail in her way.
For this is done by screams of incantation at the appointed hour and lusty bites of daily communion.
For she stands with forelegs upon the top rail of the wooden fence in supplication.
For she grunts her thanks while she eats.
For she stands for the red boar with closed eyes at the appointed hour
For having done she lies in mud to consider herself
For he keeps her well-fed and she breaks no fence.
For she grunts in pleasure from the mud when he scratches her ears.
For she is a tool of God to temper his mind?
For when she eats her corn she turns and shits in her trough.
For her master is provoked but hereby learns patience.
For she is an instrument for him to learn bankruptcy upon.
For he lost but four dollars each on the last litter of pigs.
For this is admirable in the world of the bank.
For every man is incomplete without one serious debt or loss.
For she provides this with her good faith.
For every farm is a skeleton without a mortgage.
For the Lord admonished black sows when He said lay up no stores of treasure on earth.
For she prohibits this daily.
For she is a true child of God and creature of the universe.

David Lee
U.S. narrative poet, Chairman of the Dept. of Language and Literature at Southern Utah State College, Poet laureate of Utah. This is an excerpt from “Jubilate Agno” in The Porcine Canticles (1984).

He [Jesus] turn’d the devils into swine
   That He might tempt the Jews to dine;
Since which, a pig has got a look
   That for a Jew may be mistook.

William Blake (1757-1827)
British poet, painter and engraver whose paintings and poetic works have a mystical, visionary quality. “The Everlasting Gospel” from Poems from the Rossetti Manuscript , Part III (c. 1810).

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A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.