From Autumn 2008 Issue
The churches Unforgivable Omission!
Doreen and I have just returned from a Harvest
Festival service. Prayers were offered and hymns were sung for
everything imaginable in everyday life. But there was one glaring
omission: not one word relating to God’s precious animal kingdom
with whom we share our planet! I ask, “How utterly empty and thoughtless
have the compilers of our liturgies and writers of our hymns become? How
much lower could they sink? I’m typing this article on the Feast of St.
Francis, yet those responsible for today’s worship – though undoubtedly
keen to stress the evangelical message – would have been nonplussed if
I’d mentioned their glaring omission. Indeed, it would appear as if the
leaders of our churches and chapels have conspired together to block any
thought of animal concern from entering their fellowships.
Professor Andrew Linzey does his best to get the
theology of the animals across to the theological colleges and Divinity
Halls. His writings are profound, but the situation appears unaltered.
Bishops, priests, moderators and ministers appear oblivious to the fact
that so many of their flock possess pets of their own and would dearly
warm to prayers, hymns and sermons touching upon the animal world. Yet
the position remains unchanged: in stark contrast with the Ark of Noah’s
day, the professing Ark of Salvation today – the church – boots them out
as unworthy of any small mention whatever. Well – now that the past
Vicar of Brighton is not only a prelate but also president of ASWA, he
may be able to get fellow prelates to think a little along the lines of
St. Francis or – more relevant still - Jesus who identified Himself with
‘crook bearers’ who risked life to rescue creatures of another species.
The late Archbishop of Wales had strongly supported
me over animal cruelty issues; but when I used the analogy of
vivisection labs as reminiscent of past Nazi experimental blocks – and
it was, subsequently, highlighted in ‘The Scotsman’ newspaper as
offensive to the British Sanhedrin of Judaism! – he then disassociated
himself from the short lived ‘Christians Against Vivisection’ group of
which I was a fellow patron as well as called to be its press
As for a former Bishop of Salisbury, not only did he
side with the Sanhedrin, but to highlight his opposition to my analogy,
withdrew both membership as well as patronage. Well, with creeps
claiming to be comrades in our cause, it makes it comparatively easy to
pray for ones enemies. Enough said!
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