Evangelicals Getting Involved with Animal Ethics

kim kardashian

In past debates against vegetarianism evangelicals have used the Bible as their key defense. In Genesis it says that man dominates over the animals. However, recently evangelicals have been trying to create a statement that pushes for animal ethics. This push would help fight against animal fighting and factory farming animals, where the creatures are treated like objects instead of living beings. The last few years the Humane Society has been working with evangelicals to create a statement about animal treatment and ethics where they would feel comfortable following by having it centered around beliefs.

From The Washington Post’s report an early draft of the statement says, “While we recognize that all living creatures deserve respect as part of God’s creation, we want to help focus attention on animals, as these creatures can be most subject to irresponsible and cruel treatment by humans. We resolve to exercise our responsible rule in part by confronting any and all cruelty against animals, seeing it as a violation of our rule and an affront to the ultimate Ruler who created, values, and sustains these animals.”  So, there will probably be some variation of this as the final statement for evangelicals.

The statement is centered on the idea that since the animals are a creation of God they deserve respect. Though the animals were created for humans to eat, that does not justify the awful treatment animals receive at the factory farms. Even more specifically, animal fighting cannot be justified with this statement the evangelicals and the Human Society have been creating. Later this year the Humane Society will be working towards having panels for evangelicals at churches to discuss animal ethics freely and openly.

In the past animal ethics and right have been associated with liberal views. Evangelicals have usually viewed this issue the other way. Like previously stated the animals were given to man to be dominated. The evangelicals haven’t really seen the issue that is animal ethics when they like to focus more on other issues. The focus usually falls on abortion, religious freedom, and same-sex marriage. Animal ethics usually gets lost in all that is going on, but the Humane Society has been working very hard with evangelicals to bring animal ethics more into the spot light.

Christine Gutleben spoke with the Washington Post saying that “It used to be a surprise to me that evangelicals were so open to this issue. Now it’s no longer a surprise. What I’ve seen is grappling with the concept of dominion and stewardship.” Many of those involved have been the women since they normally do the shopping for the household and make all the purchasing decisions. Gutleben would try to recruit the men and would get involved because they knew to would be something their wives would take interest in. This past Thursday about 20 evangelical had a gathering, hosted by the Humane Society, where was a reading with Karen Swallow Prior and a discussion about animal ethics.

However, the key will be getting the religious leaders involved in the cause. The evangelicals have been most active in fighting against animal fighting. From the Washington Post’s report, “ERLC president Russell Moore sent a letter in March to Tennessee’s House speaker supporting a bill that would increase animal fighting deterrents.” So it is only a matter of time before the statement is completed by the evangelicals and the Humane Society is completed. Then the evangelicals can openly fight against the factory farming and even more against animal fighting.

Photo: Flickr- Massimilliana Beserra


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