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Let's Have a Humane and Compassionate Easter
[Ed. Note: Please also read Easter: Pity the Poor Lamb.]
By Suzana Megles, OpEdNews.com
I am most disturbed at how little the Catholic Church and Christian churches generally give to concern re animal suffering in their ministry. I wrote to 350 bishops in 2001 and only 10-13 responded. I feel that the very least they can do is to instruct that the priests give one sermon a year on compassion to animals. I am still waiting for that sermon.
I'm so glad that Jan of Catholic Concern for Animals forwarded me the link to the US Humane Society’s "Animals and Religion" site. I had been aware of it before, but forgot to subscribe. I personally was unable to prick in even small ways the consciences of the pope, bishops, priests, and religious generally re the cruelty inflicted by so many of us on the animal population. But I am grateful that where I and others like myself may have failed, internet sites like this one may succeed in hopefully helping the hierarchy and Christians to really SEE the kind, loving, and humane Jesus. How can He be otherwise? While on earth He preached peace, love, and compassion. Would a compassionate God add a caveat - but only for humans?
The HSUS religion site this day was captioned "In the Spirit of Easter, Be Humane and Honor Creation." And then they launched into an appropriate quote from the Bible: And He said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole CREATION." (Mark 16:15) Sadly, so many Christians reading the word "creation" believe it only refers to humans. If they do, than they may need to use the dictionary more often.
Then they offered 4 tips and no one should be surprised re the first:
"LOVE BUNNIES? MAKE YOURS CHOCOLATE." Somehow, we can't seem to get the word out to families that adopting live bunnies for their children at Easter time is usually very unkind and often even traumatic for the bunnies. After Easter so many of them are relinquished to shelters-- adding an additional burden on them. They are already filled to capacity with the many other homeless animals needing a good home.
If they would take the time to do their research on pet rabbits, they will find them labor intensive. They and live baby chicks have no place at Easter time in homes--unless they are made of marshmallow or chocolate. And preferably dark chocolate which is considered the healthy chocolate. As for the marshmallow -we vegans will have to look for the ones which are not made with gelatin. Almost impossible--though I understand that a Jewish manufacturer does make marshmallow without gelatin (made from pig skin or pork tissue).
And re eschewing milk chocolate for the dark -- the less we indulge with anything made with milk, the healthier we probably will be. And the big, big bonus with decreased consumption of milk products may well be the dissolution of the huge milk dairy factories where cows are imprisoned. Their crime - our insatiable need to have milk and dairy products.
Those celebrities sporting milk mustaches must have not done their homework. If you think milk is necessary for strong bones - then why do we have so many cases of osteoporosis in the U.S.? Yes, we do need calcium- but milk is probably not the best way to get it into our diet. The Milk Dairy Industry continues to con us into believing we need a lot of dairy. Thankfully, the medical community is beginning to disagree.
The second tip is to "CHOOSE COLORFUL PLASTIC EGGS FOR BASKETS."
Even though the traditional Easter basket has eggs--people of compassion may want to change this tradition as well as an Easter egg hunt or roll. If they will take the time to consider that there are 280 million laying hens in the US who are confined inside tiny battery cages on factory farms where they will spend their whole lives -they may decide that compassion supersedes tradition. One day, hopefully, enough people will realize this, and the owners of egg-laying chicken cruelty will revert to the humane treatment of chickens again. And I do believe in ANTHROPOMORPHIZING (ascribing human qualities to animals). More and more, we are seeing how much they react like us. Enter this word in the internet and you will find accounts of it there. So I ask -how would you like to be a chicken in one of those horrible cages? Anyone with the least bit of compassion would understand their terrible plight. I hate to see any living being caged. God made all of us in a free state - including the animals. I know that He would hope that we extend this kindness to other living beings--especially to our food animals who do not threaten us.
The third tip pertains to those special people who fasted during Lent and the tip is: "CONTINUE A MEATLESS AND DAIRY- FREE FAST BEYOND LENT." This one is too difficult for most people. In fact, I don't know anyone among my family and friends who are vegan like me. However, of all the decisions I have made in my three-score plus years, this is one I have not regretted.
If you can't be vegan, they offer a doable tip: "Challenge yourself to continue a personal journey to incorporate more vegetarian fare in your diet --and know that each time you do, you are helping animals who suffer on factory farms." HSUS even offers help by way of a documentary entitled "EATING MERCIFULLY" which is a Christian perspective re factory farming. You can request a free DVD in this regard.
And the fourth and last tip excited me. I had briefly heard about "THE GREEN BIBLE" on the ABC Nightly news before, and now at this site I learned more about this book. Despite my reluctance in buying books which languish on my book shelf -- hopefully, I will buy the $30 bible and read it. This "bible"..."highlights scripture from its environmental perspectives, including caring for the animals. It includes more than 1,000 references, verses, and passages related to the earth." I truly hope that it reaches the hands of anyone who wants to grow in the knowledge and love of God and his green creation.
I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the past 30 years and I thank God every day that I am. I am most disturbed at how little the Catholic Church and Christian churches generally give to concern re animal suffering in their ministry. I wrote to 350 bishops in 2001 and only 10-13 responded. I feel that the very least they can do is to instruct that the priests give one sermon a year on compassion to animals. I am still waiting for that sermon. I also belong to Catholic Concern for Animals - founded in England in 1929. (They are on the internet) I recently sent a sample copy of their bi-monthly publication called the ARK to the 8 Catholic bishops of Ohio. Only ONE kindly responded. Somehow we have to reach the Christian teaching magisterium. There is next to nothing re animal concerns and compassion for them. They basically believe that animals are the lesser of God's creation and that gives us the right to do anything we want to them. Way wrong. We need to change their mindsets. The animals are God's first and He expects us to treat them compassionately.
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