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Christians Against All Animal Abuse
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From Summer 2011 Issue

An Animal Charity’s Quest For A Christian Venue

Part of a letter received from ‘The Ethical Voice For Animals’:

‘Dear Reverend: --

We have been looking for a venue to hold an ethical living fayre. We planned to have a variety of stalls representing environmental groups, animal rescue centres, vegan bakeries and chocolate makers, ethical companies such as Lush (toiletries and cosmetics), perhaps a herbalist, - and lots of vegan food for tasting and buying. We were finding that maybe we had left it a little late because most venues were booked up throughout the autumn, but the Stirling Baptist Church has a hall, which was available one Saturday in September. When I phoned to make an appointment to view the hall and discuss costs etc I was questioned about EVA and the sort of fair we were planning. As soon as I mentioned 'animals' the response changed, particularly so when I mentioned 'vegetarianism' (I sensed that 'vegan' would seem to be too extreme! ) I was told that they could not hire out their hall to us because they could not be seen to be associated with people like us. I had, of course, explained to them what our aims were.

The lady who spoke to me said that as Christians they believed that humans have power and dominion over animals and therefore, whilst not agreeing with deliberate cruelty to animals, they could not have an event which promoted vegetarianism or a different - better - way of treating animals. She said that she was the spokesperson for the congregation and she knew that the majority of them would be very upset if we were allowed to hold a fayre in their hall. I told her that I was very shocked and saddened by her response but she simply reiterated their belief in 'power and dominion'. We're all really disappointed to encounter that kind of attitude as you can imagine’

My reply, which was forwarded to the Church:

(Dear Friends) ,

’ I am truly horrified that a Minister should be so blinkered as to interpret man's dominion over animals as being identical with the mightiest subduing the weakest or least intelligent!

 Anyone with any depth of scriptural understanding will surely realise that the Old Testament reference to a dominion of the hignest species over 'lesser!' ones needs to be clarified by further enlightenment that comes from the New testament.
Our dominion needs to be reflective of Christ's dominion over us. He who is rightly our Lord and Master was willing to become our Servant and even more: our Saviour!  Jesus used the analogy of such kind and caring herdsmen as good shepherds in contrast to hirelings who cared not for, often, wilfully wayward members of an 'assumed' lesser species:   He was referring to a wayward sheep that had gone astray!  The good shepherd was - at tremendous risk to himself - fully prepared to lay down his own life in attempting to save such an animal.  Indeed, God so loved simple sheep that He chose for his Son to be born in their midst; to have animal carers singled out to witness angels who heralded Jesus birth to them!

For any true Christian to leave animal care out of the New Testament Ark of Salvation: the fellowship of true believers - is to regress abysmally from Noah's Ark and the provision for animals that the Almighty then made. Indeed, He repeatedly made His covenant with them as well as us!
One could go, on and one here with scriptural support for the vital need of Christians to be in the vanguard for animal rights and welfare so called!  It is therefore regrettable, indeed, that the Roman church has categorically denied that animals have any soul, but this is not scriptural teaching at all. Indeed, it is sad that they have not followed closer to the teaching and example of Francis of Assisi rather than that of a Thomas Aquinas! But - though I hate to say it! - it is much sadder still that the Baptist Church you mention appears, in this respect, to be so far removed in theology from the greatest Baptist preacher of all time: I refer to Charles Haddon Spurgeon -a devout lover and champion of animals; and as eager an opponent of Vivisection as was the reigning monarch Queen Victoria! What is more, though not quite in line of theology concerning vegetarianism as was William Booth, the founder of the salvation Army; or the earlier John Wesley founder of Methodism - they being Arminian in biblical theology and and Spurgeon largely Calvinist - all three were equally, most eager to embrace animals as having a soul and, in this life, to quite militantly fight for their welfare.

With much love and deep concern, concerning your plight for a Christian venue.

rev. James Thompson,’

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