My most hurtful memory through ‘speaking out’ for the animals was in
the inauguration of what was termed ‘Christians Opposed To Vivisection’.
Through my influence and the diplomacy of its founder, several bishops,
plus an archbishop, became fellow patrons alongside myself. In fact the
most academic, I was told, volunteered! But then something happened. “We
need a press statement as to what we stand for”, said the gracious lady
who had founded it. “Well! Ask one of the bishops!” I replied. “No” she
said quite emphatically. “Definitely not; for you are the one who should
make such a statement to the national press. As for them, they hardly
know enough about the subject!” Well, she meant well; and you can
imagine the outcome!
To elaborate on the evils of vivisection I used the analogy of Nazi
medical experimental blocks - even adding that in using humans as models
for medical experimentation to advance human medicine, that those Nazi
scientists had been more scientifically accurate. Well, most newspapers
who published it saw the logic of one’s reasoning. But as for ‘The
Scotsman’ - a trash paper based in Edinburgh, - one of its ‘smart-alec’
reporters contacted the equivalent of a British Sanhedrin, and they
didn’t but fail to give the impression that I’d trivialised the
Holocaust. Consequently, the (then) Archbishop of Wales – who’d
previously sung my praises, wished to dissociate himself from my
statement. Two more immediately handed in their patronage; while a
previous bishop of Salisbury was unhappy about emphasis being placed on
the word vivisection – a word he would rather not use! - and considered
any comparison between such a word and the holocaust as utterly
insensitive and inexcusable.
Consequently, ‘Christians Opposed To Vivisection’ was dissolved
before it ever got off the ground. It came in and went out like a damp
squib! Yet, quite remarkably, seven years later, the gift of a
delightful book came to me through the post; inscribed by a Jewish
writer from out of the blue. It’s title was ‘Eternal Treblinka’; and it
reiterated all that I’d implied; and for which I’d been severely
censored. I tell you this: we need to be like Jesus: ‘as wise as
serpents yet as harmless as doves’; for He would not trust himself to
man. He knew the deceptiveness that so frequently lurks beneath many an
affluent surface. .
Go labour on, spend and be spent.
Your work to do the Saviour’s will.
It was the way your Master went.
Should not His servant follow still?
‘Go labour on. It’s not for nought.
Your earthly loss is heavenly gain.
Men heed you, love and praise you not!
The Master praises. What are men?’
- Horatius Bonar
Go on to
A Prophet Passing By, As A Ship Of The
Return to Autumn 2005 Issue