Archive | 3:12 pm

Are Hot Dog Eating Contests Immoral?

14 Jun

A relative of mine entered a hot dog eating contest. You know, the kind where one competes with others to see who can eat the most hot dogs in 10 minutes. What do you think about the morality of this?

To be perfectly “frank,” I don’t “relish” having to come down on hot dog eating contests. I was an obese child, and as a youth, my eating exploits were legendary. And beyond my own personal struggles, gluttony is not considered a big deal by most people today.

Servant of God John Hardon gives the standard definition of gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins: “Gluttony is an inordinate love of eating and drinking. It means eating or drinking to excess, taking more than is needed or healthy, or indulging the appetite merely for pleasure, or beyond one’s means. . . .” 

St. John Vianney and many other saints affirm this teaching and write about the negative spiritual ramifications of gluttony.

I don’t know how one could take seriously this definition of gluttony and still find hot dog eating contests morally acceptable. It surely entails “eating . . . to excess, taking more than is needed or healthy.” It goes even beyond eating “for pleasure,” but makes it a quasi-sport/entertainment, completely detached from the satisfaction of one’s hunger. I think some analogy could be made to various “games” or “sports” that play on our lustful inclinations, such as wet T-shirt competitions, mud wrestling, and worse.

So, enjoy a dog or two at the Royals’ game, and leave it at that!

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