Over the past decade, a growing number of misleading messages about modern animal agriculture have been presented by animal rights activist groups to church and religious leaders or in religious forums, under the guise of religion and compassion. Some animal rights activists are using religion as yet another way to influence public policy to eliminate individual food choices – just as they’ve done through legislation and ballot initiatives. A new book, “What Would Jesus Really Eat? The Biblical Case for Eating Meat,” is now available help arm farmers and ranchers and others in the animal agriculture industry with the information they need to have informed conversations about the complex subject of religion and eating meat.

Targeting individuals who have a spiritual sense but may not fully engage in reading or understanding biblical scriptures or other religious doctrines by appealing to their sense of compassion and guilt, is just one more way to further their goals of advancing animal rights and ending meat consumption. As one example, the Humane Society of the United States has a Faith Outreach program, which “seeks to engage people and institutions of faith with animal protection issues.” They have produced a short film called “Eating Mercifully” that shares “Christian perspectives on factory farming,” along with a book, video series and more. PETA also has a Christian outreach division called Jesus People for Animals. In 2015, they published a letter regarding stained glass artwork in the Washington National Cathedral which included this statement: “Today, pigs are mercilessly castrated, cows are branded with hot irons, and chickens have part of their sensitive beaks seared off with a hot blade—all without any painkillers. In slaughterhouses, animals are hung upside down, their legs are slammed into shackles, and their throats are cut, often while they’re still conscious. Many never feel the warmth of the sun, form friendships, roam free, or do any of the other things that God intended for them.” As a result of these efforts by activist groups, many denominations have adopted resolutions regarding animal welfare in recent years, including some that are negative toward modern animal agriculture. A spreadsheet of such policies is available to Animal Agriculture Alliance members.

The Alliance has formed a Working Group to help our members address this issue. Has “Meatless Mondays” made its way into a sermon at your church? Has your denomination adopted a policy on animal welfare that is negative toward modern production practices? The Alliance’s resources can help you have tough conversations about sensitive issues. Even if you haven’t seen animal rights messaging emerge in your church, you can use these materials to have proactive conversations with theological leaders in your community and help them understand how dedicated farmers are to caring for their livestock and the land. These resources were developed through an exhaustive literature review and tested with two focus groups made up of pet-owning, meat-consuming 25-45-year-old members of protestant evangelical large churches, and seven long-form interviews with similar church members. The resource kit, which includes talking points and sample editorials, is available in the Animal Ag Alliance Online Resource Library.

The Alliance also helped support the production of the new book, “What Would Jesus Really Eat?” The book, edited by Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Wes Jamison, PhD and Paul Copan, PhD, looks at what the Bible has to say about using and eating animals from several different perspectives and tackles topics including the challenges to Christian meat-eating, human exceptionalism and humanity’s dominion over other living creatures. In addition to chapters from Drs. Jamison and Copan, the book includes chapters from five different authors with unique perspectives and expertise in theology: Tom St. Antoine, PhD, Palm Beach Atlantic University; Timothy Hsiao, PhD, Grantham University; Walter Kaiser, PhD, evangelical Old Testament scholar; Randy Spronk, Minnesota hog farmer and Gordon Spronk, DVM, a swine veterinarian.

Copies of the book can be purchased from the Alliance for $15.00 plus shipping and handling. Bulk order discounts are available for quantities from 25-99 ($13.00 per copy plus shipping and handling) and 100+ ($10 per copy plus shipping and handling). Click here to order your copy today. If you have questions about placing your order, contact the Alliance at info@animalagalliance.org or 703-562-5160.

Category: Alliance Outreach and Projects

Tag: Animals & Religion,