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
rev. James Thompson,’
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