Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Christians for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Expand Messages
  • vasumurti@netscape.net
    I would like to see organized religion join the struggle for animal rights. Religion has been wrong before. It has been said that on issues such as women s
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 1, 2011
    • 0 Attachment
      I would like to see organized religion join the struggle for animal rights. 

      Religion has been wrong before. 

      It has been said that on issues such as women's rights and human slavery, religion has impeded social and moral progress. 

      It was a Spanish Catholic priest, Bartolome de las Casas, who first proposed enslaving black Africans in place of the Native Americans who were dying off in great numbers.
       
      The church of the past never considered human slavery to be a moral evil. The Protestant churches of Virginia, South Carolina, and other southern states actually passed resolutions in favor of the human slave traffic. 
       
      Human slavery was called "by Divine Appointment," "a Divine institution," "a moral relation," "God's institution," "not immoral," but "founded in right." 

      The slave trade was called "legal," "licit," "in accordance with humane principles" and "the laws of revealed religion." 
       
      New Testament verses calling for obedience and subservience on the part of slaves (Titus 2:9-10; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; I Peter 2:18-25) and respect for the master (I Timothy 6:1-2; Ephesians 6:5-9) were often cited in order to justify human slavery.  

      Some of Jesus' parables refer to human slaves. Paul's epistle to Philemon concerns a runaway slave returned to his master. 
       
      The Quakers were one of the earliest religious denominations to condemn human slavery.  

      "Paul's outright endorsement of slavery should be an undying embarrassment to Christianity as long as they hold the entire New Testament to be the word of God," wrote Quaker physician Dr. Charles P. Vaclavik in his 1986 book, The Vegetarianism of Jesus Christ. "Without a doubt, the American slaveholders quoted Paul again and again to substantiate their right to hold slaves. 
       
      "The moralist movement to abolish slavery had to go to non-biblical sources to demonstrate the immoral nature of slavery. The abolitionists could not turn to Christian sources to condemn slavery, for Christianity had become the bastion of the evil practice through its endorsement by the Apostle Paul. 

      "Only the Old Testament gave the abolitionist any Biblical support in his efforts to free the slaves. 'You shall not surrender to his master a slave who has taken refuge with you.' (Deuteronomy 23:15) What a pittance of material opposing slavery from a book supposedly representing the word of God." 
       
      In 1852, Josiah Priest wrote Bible Defense of Slavery. Others claimed blacks were subhuman. Buckner H. Payne, calling himself "Ariel," wrote in 1867: "the tempter in the Garden of Eden...was a beast, a talking beast...the negro." Ariel argued that since the negro was not part of Noah's family, he must have been a beast. 

      "Eight souls were saved on the ark, therefore, the negro must be a beast, and "consequently, he has no soul to be saved." 
       
      The status of animals in contemporary human society is like that of human slaves in centuries past. 

      Quoting Luke 4:18, Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28 or any other biblical passages merely suggesting liberty, equality and an end to human slavery in the 18th or 19th century would have been met with the kind of response animal rights activists receive today if they quote Bible verses in favor of ethical vegetarianism and compassion towards animals. 
       
      Some of the worst crimes in history were committed in the name of religion. 

      There's a great song along these lines from 1992 by Rage Against the Machine, entitled "Killing in the Name Of". 
       
      Someone once pointed out that while Hitler may have claimed to be a Christian, he imprisoned Christian clergy who opposed the Nazi regime, and even Christian churches were subject to the terror of the Nazis. Thinking along these lines, I realize that while I would like to see organized religion support animal liberation (e.g., as was the case with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American civil rights movement) rather than simply remain an obstacle to social and moral progress (e.g., 19th century southern churches in the U.S. upheld human slavery on biblical grounds), this support must come freely and voluntarily (e.g., "The Liberation of All Life" resolution issued by the World Council of Churches in 1988). 
       
      Religious institutions can't be coerced into rewriting their holy books or teaching a convoluted doctrine to suit the whims or the secular political ideology of a particular demagogue. American liberals argue that principle of the separation of church and state gives us freedom FROM religious tyranny and theocracy. Conservatives argue (the other side of the coin!) that one of the reasons America's founding fathers established the separation of church and state was to prevent government intrusion into religious affairs. 
       
      I agree with Reverend Marc Wessels, Executive Director of the International Network for Religion and Animals (INRA), who said on Earth Day 1990: 
       
      "It is a fact that no significant social reform has yet taken place in this country without the voice of the religious community being heard.  The endeavors of the abolition of slavery; the women's suffrage movement; the emergence of the pacifist tradition during World War I; the struggles to support civil rights, labor unions, and migrant farm workers; and the anti-nuclear and peace movements have all succeeded in part because of the power and support of organized religion. 

      "Such authority and energy is required by individual Christians and the institutional church today if the liberation of animals is to become a reality."

      --Vasu

      vasumurti@...
    • Maynard S. Clark
      Get your history right, Vasu. 19th century Evangelicals were at the forefront of the fight against human slavery (and worldwide, many of them are still
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 3, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        Get your history right, Vasu.
        19th century Evangelicals were at the forefront of the fight against human slavery (and worldwide, many of them are still involved in that struggle; where is the US government?)
        Mainline churches may have been split.  Even the Unitarians put forth a US President who supported slavery (Millard Fillmore). 


        Maynard          

        Maynard S. Clark    |  GoogleChat: Maynard.Clark | Skype: MaynardClark

        Google Voice (617-615-9672) reaches all my phones

        MSM (ABC/T); CIPP, RTP, RAC/GCRA, REACH Intermediate certificates

        Blog Links | HSPH Bioethics | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google Profile

        Maynard.Clark@... and/or MClark@...




        On Sat, Oct 1, 2011 at 10:11 AM, <vasumurti@...> wrote:
         

        I would like to see organized religion join the struggle for animal rights. 

        Religion has been wrong before. 

        It has been said that on issues such as women's rights and human slavery, religion has impeded social and moral progress. 

        It was a Spanish Catholic priest, Bartolome de las Casas, who first proposed enslaving black Africans in place of the Native Americans who were dying off in great numbers.
         
        The church of the past never considered human slavery to be a moral evil. The Protestant churches of Virginia, South Carolina, and other southern states actually passed resolutions in favor of the human slave traffic. 
         
        Human slavery was called "by Divine Appointment," "a Divine institution," "a moral relation," "God's institution," "not immoral," but "founded in right." 

        The slave trade was called "legal," "licit," "in accordance with humane principles" and "the laws of revealed religion." 
         
        New Testament verses calling for obedience and subservience on the part of slaves (Titus 2:9-10; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; I Peter 2:18-25) and respect for the master (I Timothy 6:1-2; Ephesians 6:5-9) were often cited in order to justify human slavery.  

        Some of Jesus' parables refer to human slaves. Paul's epistle to Philemon concerns a runaway slave returned to his master. 
         
        The Quakers were one of the earliest religious denominations to condemn human slavery.  

        "Paul's outright endorsement of slavery should be an undying embarrassment to Christianity as long as they hold the entire New Testament to be the word of God," wrote Quaker physician Dr. Charles P. Vaclavik in his 1986 book, The Vegetarianism of Jesus Christ. "Without a doubt, the American slaveholders quoted Paul again and again to substantiate their right to hold slaves. 
         
        "The moralist movement to abolish slavery had to go to non-biblical sources to demonstrate the immoral nature of slavery. The abolitionists could not turn to Christian sources to condemn slavery, for Christianity had become the bastion of the evil practice through its endorsement by the Apostle Paul. 

        "Only the Old Testament gave the abolitionist any Biblical support in his efforts to free the slaves. 'You shall not surrender to his master a slave who has taken refuge with you.' (Deuteronomy 23:15) What a pittance of material opposing slavery from a book supposedly representing the word of God." 
         
        In 1852, Josiah Priest wrote Bible Defense of Slavery. Others claimed blacks were subhuman. Buckner H. Payne, calling himself "Ariel," wrote in 1867: "the tempter in the Garden of Eden...was a beast, a talking beast...the negro." Ariel argued that since the negro was not part of Noah's family, he must have been a beast. 

        "Eight souls were saved on the ark, therefore, the negro must be a beast, and "consequently, he has no soul to be saved." 
         
        The status of animals in contemporary human society is like that of human slaves in centuries past. 

        Quoting Luke 4:18, Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28 or any other biblical passages merely suggesting liberty, equality and an end to human slavery in the 18th or 19th century would have been met with the kind of response animal rights activists receive today if they quote Bible verses in favor of ethical vegetarianism and compassion towards animals. 
         
        Some of the worst crimes in history were committed in the name of religion. 

        There's a great song along these lines from 1992 by Rage Against the Machine, entitled "Killing in the Name Of". 
         
        Someone once pointed out that while Hitler may have claimed to be a Christian, he imprisoned Christian clergy who opposed the Nazi regime, and even Christian churches were subject to the terror of the Nazis. Thinking along these lines, I realize that while I would like to see organized religion support animal liberation (e.g., as was the case with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American civil rights movement) rather than simply remain an obstacle to social and moral progress (e.g., 19th century southern churches in the U.S. upheld human slavery on biblical grounds), this support must come freely and voluntarily (e.g., "The Liberation of All Life" resolution issued by the World Council of Churches in 1988). 
         
        Religious institutions can't be coerced into rewriting their holy books or teaching a convoluted doctrine to suit the whims or the secular political ideology of a particular demagogue. American liberals argue that principle of the separation of church and state gives us freedom FROM religious tyranny and theocracy. Conservatives argue (the other side of the coin!) that one of the reasons America's founding fathers established the separation of church and state was to prevent government intrusion into religious affairs. 
         
        I agree with Reverend Marc Wessels, Executive Director of the International Network for Religion and Animals (INRA), who said on Earth Day 1990: 
         
        "It is a fact that no significant social reform has yet taken place in this country without the voice of the religious community being heard.  The endeavors of the abolition of slavery; the women's suffrage movement; the emergence of the pacifist tradition during World War I; the struggles to support civil rights, labor unions, and migrant farm workers; and the anti-nuclear and peace movements have all succeeded in part because of the power and support of organized religion. 

        "Such authority and energy is required by individual Christians and the institutional church today if the liberation of animals is to become a reality."

        --Vasu


      • vasumurti@netscape.net
        Maynard, In his 2003 book, Don t Think of an Elephant, UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff tells progressives that part of winning an argument or debate
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 5, 2011
        • 0 Attachment
          Maynard,   

          In his 2003 book, Don't Think of an Elephant, UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff tells progressives that part of winning an argument or debate depends on how the issue is framed or phrased.

          I'd recognized this in college during the '80s on abortion. For example:

          If a poll were taken, asking, "Should abortions be banned?" that sounds fascist.  This is America.  We don't "ban" things.  

          But if the question were rephrased as:  "Should human rights be extended to the unborn?"  it sounds egalitarian...the reaction will be quite different!  

          Everywhere I go, the sound bites I encounter from pro-life Christians indicate that they phrase the issues of animal rights and vegetarianism in terms of "work"...rather than in terms of the rights of animals living unwillingly under human exploitation and oppression, the animals' right-to-life, comparisons with slavery, and directly related social justice and sanctity-of-life issues, etc.  

          Or, they define it merely as a sectarian religious doctrine, ironically, the way many liberals define abortion!

          If these Christians don't want to listen to non-Christians (myself included), fine.  These views deserve a fair hearing.  There's no reason they can't listen to Christian vegetarians and vegans like yourself, the vegetarian voices in the long history of animal advocacy in biblical tradition, etc.  

          Rose Evans, editor and publisher of Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, a "consistent-ethic" periodical out of San Francisco, CA, on the religious left, says there are more Christian vegetarians than Jewish vegetarians!  Martin Rowe of Lantern Books in New York has published numerous books on animals and theology, to advance the cause of animal rights in theological circles.

          You mention 19th century evangelicals as abolitionists.  Fair enough.  

          The late Reverend Janet Regina Hyland (1933 - 2007) was raised Catholic, but became an evangelical minister, a vegan, involved in women's rights, animal rights, the plight of migrant farm workers, and the author of God's Covenant with Animals (it's available through People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA). 

          Regina said to me in a phone conversation several years ago, that the Southern Baptists split from mainline Baptists over slavery!

          Can you imagine 18th century Christians telling abolitionists, "We don't need to free our slaves!  That's 'good works'...We don't have to 'work' for our salvation..." ?

          Or an 18th century Christian telling his followers, "You don't need to free your slaves.  All you have to do is accept Jesus..." ?

          None of the arguments pro-life Christians make to justify the status quo on animals would make any sense if this were three hundred years ago, and we were talking about the abolition of human slavery, rather than animal slavery.  

          I'm surprised pro-choice Christians haven't tried to deny rights to the unborn using the identical sound bites pro-life Christians are citing against animals!

          We really live in a secular society.  Secular arguments are religion-neutral and thus applicable to everyone, including atheists and agnostics.  The intellectual and theological ammunition I've provided on this and other e-mail lists can help animal activists in the theological arena of various religious traditions.  The Society for Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV), to which you and I belong, was formed with this purpose in mind.

          (Why would they put a vegetarian under surveillance if they aren't interested in learning about vegetarianism...even as the necessary solution to the abortion crisis?)

          --Vasu

          vasumurti@...


          -----Original Message-----
          From: Maynard S. Clark <Maynard.Clark@...>
          To: SFVeg <SFVeg@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wed, Oct 5, 2011 5:40 pm
          Subject: Re: [SFVS] Christians for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

           
          Get your history right, Vasu.
          19th century Evangelicals were at the forefront of the fight against human slavery (and worldwide, many of them are still involved in that struggle; where is the US government?)
          Mainline churches may have been split.  Even the Unitarians put forth a US President who supported slavery (Millard Fillmore). 

          Maynard          
          Maynard S. Clark    |  GoogleChat: Maynard.Clark | Skype: MaynardClark
          Google Voice (617-615-9672) reaches all my phones
          MSM (ABC/T); CIPP, RTP, RAC/GCRA, REACH Intermediate certificates



          On Sat, Oct 1, 2011 at 10:11 AM, <vasumurti@...> wrote:
           
          I would like to see organized religion join the struggle for animal rights. 

          Religion has been wrong before. 

          It has been said that on issues such as women's rights and human slavery, religion has impeded social and moral progress. 

          It was a Spanish Catholic priest, Bartolome de las Casas, who first proposed enslaving black Africans in place of the Native Americans who were dying off in great numbers.
           
          The church of the past never considered human slavery to be a moral evil. The Protestant churches of Virginia, South Carolina, and other southern states actually passed resolutions in favor of the human slave traffic. 
           
          Human slavery was called "by Divine Appointment," "a Divine institution," "a moral relation," "God's institution," "not immoral," but "founded in right." 

          The slave trade was called "legal," "licit," "in accordance with humane principles" and "the laws of revealed religion." 
           
          New Testament verses calling for obedience and subservience on the part of slaves (Titus 2:9-10; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; I Peter 2:18-25) and respect for the master (I Timothy 6:1-2; Ephesians 6:5-9) were often cited in order to justify human slavery.  

          Some of Jesus' parables refer to human slaves. Paul's epistle to Philemon concerns a runaway slave returned to his master. 
           
          The Quakers were one of the earliest religious denominations to condemn human slavery.  

          "Paul's outright endorsement of slavery should be an undying embarrassment to Christianity as long as they hold the entire New Testament to be the word of God," wrote Quaker physician Dr. Charles P. Vaclavik in his 1986 book, The Vegetarianism of Jesus Christ. "Without a doubt, the American slaveholders quoted Paul again and again to substantiate their right to hold slaves. 
           
          "The moralist movement to abolish slavery had to go to non-biblical sources to demonstrate the immoral nature of slavery. The abolitionists could not turn to Christian sources to condemn slavery, for Christianity had become the bastion of the evil practice through its endorsement by the Apostle Paul. 

          "Only the Old Testament gave the abolitionist any Biblical support in his efforts to free the slaves. 'You shall not surrender to his master a slave who has taken refuge with you.' (Deuteronomy 23:15) What a pittance of material opposing slavery from a book supposedly representing the word of God." 
           
          In 1852, Josiah Priest wrote Bible Defense of Slavery. Others claimed blacks were subhuman. Buckner H. Payne, calling himself "Ariel," wrote in 1867: "the tempter in the Garden of Eden...was a beast, a talking beast...the negro." Ariel argued that since the negro was not part of Noah's family, he must have been a beast. 

          "Eight souls were saved on the ark, therefore, the negro must be a beast, and "consequently, he has no soul to be saved." 
           
          The status of animals in contemporary human society is like that of human slaves in centuries past. 

          Quoting Luke 4:18, Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28 or any other biblical passages merely suggesting liberty, equality and an end to human slavery in the 18th or 19th century would have been met with the kind of response animal rights activists receive today if they quote Bible verses in favor of ethical vegetarianism and compassion towards animals. 
           
          Some of the worst crimes in history were committed in the name of religion. 

          There's a great song along these lines from 1992 by Rage Against the Machine, entitled "Killing in the Name Of". 
           
          Someone once pointed out that while Hitler may have claimed to be a Christian, he imprisoned Christian clergy who opposed the Nazi regime, and even Christian churches were subject to the terror of the Nazis. Thinking along these lines, I realize that while I would like to see organized religion support animal liberation (e.g., as was the case with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American civil rights movement) rather than simply remain an obstacle to social and moral progress (e.g., 19th century southern churches in the U.S. upheld human slavery on biblical grounds), this support must come freely and voluntarily (e.g., "The Liberation of All Life" resolution issued by the World Council of Churches in 1988). 
           
          Religious institutions can't be coerced into rewriting their holy books or teaching a convoluted doctrine to suit the whims or the secular political ideology of a particular demagogue. American liberals argue that principle of the separation of church and state gives us freedom FROM religious tyranny and theocracy. Conservatives argue (the other side of the coin!) that one of the reasons America's founding fathers established the separation of church and state was to prevent government intrusion into religious affairs. 
           
          I agree with Reverend Marc Wessels, Executive Director of the International Network for Religion and Animals (INRA), who said on Earth Day 1990: 
           
          "It is a fact that no significant social reform has yet taken place in this country without the voice of the religious community being heard.  The endeavors of the abolition of slavery; the women's suffrage movement; the emergence of the pacifist tradition during World War I; the struggles to support civil rights, labor unions, and migrant farm workers; and the anti-nuclear and peace movements have all succeeded in part because of the power and support of organized religion. 

          "Such authority and energy is required by individual Christians and the institutional church today if the liberation of animals is to become a reality."

          --Vasu

        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.