Whereas a lot of people are put off religion due to the way it treats animals, in fact most religions treat animals well, it’s the people themselves using religion for the wrong reasons. Animal Interfaith Alliance is uniting faith groups across the world to help our kindred souls. Many people use Christianity to abuse animals, saving that God gave us dominion over them. If you have a human child, you have dominion over him or her. To care (dominion should be a good thing).
The Catholic faith does not have the best reputation for animal welfare (The Vatican now takes $30,000 a month in rent from a McDonald’s fast food outlet). Yet the real Catholic faith is more hopeful. This is the faith of St Francis of Assisi (a former party boy who became the Patron saint of animal welfare, ecology and simple living). Read more on saints that loved animals. And Catholic Concern for Animals does wonderful work across the world. More hope can be found:
- Anglican Society for Animal Welfare has an animal-friendly church campaign where participating Church of England vicars can display a poster on ways they are more compassionate like building wildlife habitats.
- SARX (a Christian charity for animal welfare) has a free 40-days with God’s Creatures guide (for Lent) CreatureKind also offers a free animal welfare guide for churches. Quakers have a long history of animal welfare, social justice and environmental awareness.
A Christian preacher is about to be eaten by a bear. He prays to God ‘Please God, make this bear a good Christian’. To his amazement, the bear then puts his giant paws together in prayer, and he begins to pray. ‘Dear Lord, thank you for this meal that I am about to receive…’ Norm Phelps
Jesus Christ & animal welfare
Although it’s unlikely back-in-the-day that Jesus was a vegetarian, scholars argue that his message of peace and compassion mean he would likely be one now, in a world of factory-farming and animal agriculture that is harming the planet. It’s mind-boggling how bear-hunting Trumpians think they are ‘following the way of Christ’:
And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ Genesis 1:30.
The original Bible was written in Aramaic, and many translations have been changed. The word ‘meat’ in the Bible is ‘trophe’ which means’ nourishment’. So ‘receiving meat’, means ‘receiving nourishment’. In the Book of Luke, the word ‘phago’ is translated as meat, when the word originally means food. Some even suggest that the ‘feeding of the 5000’ could have been a Greek word for fishweed (a type of seaweed), though this may be stretching it a bit. However, one scholar writes that the Greek word for fish is ‘ixous’ which is used to describe Jesus, and is not necessarily referring to the food.
animal welfare & other religions
- Jewish Initiative for Animals provides new ways for the Jewish community to bring values of compassion for animals into practice. After Germany, Israel has the highest number of vegans worldwide (by ratio).
- Hindus practice ahimsa (do no harm) but most are vegetarian (rather than vegan). Yet the dairy industry can be just as cruel as the meat one.
- Compassion in World Farming wants a ban on Halal/Kosher meat (no stunning). But it’s possible for both religions to be vegan or vegetarian. This Muslim recipe blogger has great recipes and artiles. One vegan Saudi Arabians prince has invested in Plant Based News.
Concern for how animals are treated, is not a topic most churches spend a lot of time on. We ought to spend time thinking about the fate of those creatures, and the responsibility as Christians to make their lives better. Ed Brown
Climate change is already impacting our neighbours and God’s creation around the world. Therefore we commit to living faithfully as good stewards of creation, and supporting political leaders when they stand up for climate action. Young Evangelicals for Climate Action