Santa Paula Times


August 08, 2003

Recently in the news there has been quite a discussion about the girth of Americans.

Deacon Alfonso A. Guilin, President SP Ministerial AssociationRecently in the news there has been quite a discussion about the girth of Americans. That is, that we are too FAT. There seems to be a general agreement that the reason for this chubby fact is that we exercise too little and consume too many calories.Beyond these facts rational thinking seems to be a foreign concept. The latest overture to this debate is a legal one; that is, that food purveyors are at fault for serving food that is fattening and/or for portions that are too large.Nowhere do I hear the words, “Personal Responsibility.” Leaping from a legal perspective to an ecclesiastical one, the equivalent might be “Freewill”.Freewill is defined as “The human faculty to choose among courses of action*.” From a church perspective that means that a person has the right to believe or not to believe in God, for example.But Freewill also goes beyond the church; in this country we have unlimited options provided they do not impinge on someone else’s rights.
It is well documented that the parents are the first teachers in a baby’s life; it is the parents that provide the basic foundations of a child including their eating habits. Once the children are old enough to order their own ‘happy meal’ it is their decision.Most restaurants that I am familiar with have a menu with a wide variety of selections or in other words they provide the opportunity: “ choose among courses of action.”Taking personal responsibility is a hallmark of our society. Of course, the food industry does have the responsibility to provide clean, safe food and if they do not they must legally be held responsible-business too must: “...choose among courses of action.”For example, it is my contention that farm workers and farmers are responsible for this country having an abundant and cheap foodstuff. Perhaps, they are to blame for our obesity?If freewill is the ability for us “ choose among courses of action,” then taking personal responsibility for that action is a must. It cannot be otherwise.*Encyclopedia of Catholicism