The Lantern Books Blog: Remembering Regina Hyland
November 13, 2007 9:32pm
, author of, among other things, They Shall Not Destroy
sent me the following reflection of the late Regina (J. R.) Hyland. I have taken the liberty of sharing some of it with you.
(Shortly before passing away in early October 2007, Regina agreed to have a Hindu astrologer analyze her astrological chart. Some of the biographical information provided here comes from what was given to the astrologer.)
Regina was raised Irish Catholic and attended Catholic school as a youth, but went over to the Protestants to become an evangelical minister, since the Catholics don't ordain women. She reverently referred to Jesus as "my guru." Regina had been vegetarian since the 1970s, but found it odd that some religious vegetarians also consider mind-altering substances like alcohol to be "unspiritual." Regina admitted that having been raised Irish Catholic she was fond of alcohol, and believed (like most Christians) that the Bible permits alcohol in moderation.
She said she religiously read a copy of Bhagavad-gita as it is, which I sent her years ago. She obtained a copy of Srila Prabhupada's book The Path of Perfection when living in Texas a few decades ago, and says that while she was attracted to Srila Prabhupada's teachings on yoga and meditation, she was put off by his (apparently) sexist comments about women.
Regina was the author of Sexism Is a Sin: A Biblical Basis for Female Equality, and God's Covenant with Animals. . . . She was involved with the plight of migrant farm animals, women's rights, and animal rights.
When I visited Regina in Sarasota, FL, in August 2003, I gave her a set of japa (prayer) beads, but couldn't show her how to properly use them in the bead bag since she was left-handed. She was familiar with Western astrology, and said she believed in reincarnation.
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Regina began seminary studies in biblical theology in 1955, but didn't complete a Masters in Theology until the early 1980s. She studied with the Assembly of God Home Missions beginning in 1982, and was ordained on November 24, 1984.
Shortly before she passed away, I spoke with Regina Hyland over the phone. Among her last words to me were: "The Christian God cares [for animals]." Regina cared deeply for animals and was in the forefront of social change: religion and animal rights. Long before SERV (the Society for Ethical and Religious Vegetarians) was started, she published Humane Religion, a bi-monthly Christian vegetarian periodical.
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Regina was an ardent feminist and described herself as a "dyed-in-the-wool Democrat." When I first contacted Regina in 1996, she was convinced the entire pro-life movement was a vast, right-wing conspiracy. Since then, I turned her on to Feminists for Life, Democrats for Life and Consistent Life (a coalition of peace and justice groups on the religious Left that takes a stand against war, abortion, poverty, the arms race, capital punishment, and euthanasia—the Dalai Lama has signed their Mission Statement). . . and, before she passed away, she was hoping that as an alternative to abortion science would come up with a form of contraception that even the Pope would approve of!
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Regina was planning to attend the World Vegetarian Weekend festival in San Francisco at the end of September, when she suddenly fell ill. I live in Oakland, and was looking forward to seeing her and selling her books with her. She was pleased when I told her that I not only distributed her pamphlets and sold her books at World Vegetarian Weekend, but that I managed to sell a copy of God's Covenant with Animals to a group of high school students who had formed an animal rights club on campus. She had faith in the next generation.
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She will be missed by everyone who knew her. I know I will miss her dearly.