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Can Animal Rights and Vegetarianism (Veganism) Succeed Without Church Support?
By: Frank L. and Mary T. Hoffman
History has taught us that most major non-violence reforms have either begun or been strongly supported by the Christian Church and other religions. The first child and animal welfare movements began in Great Britain in the mid 1800's. Vegetarian and Vegan societies followed on their heels.
In the United States 90% of the population claims to be Christian, 2% claim to be Jewish, and most of the remaining 8% are people of other religions. In the animal rights movement, we have found many people who have either left the Church or who are on the verge of leaving, because of the hardness of heart they have experienced through Church members and/or clergy.
We believe that both sides of this issue are making a mistake. How can the animal rights and vegetarian (vegan) movements ever hope to succeed if they ignore the vast majority of other people in this world? The answer is, they can't. How can the Christian Church ever have the growth and support of true believers they seek if they support both the Prince of Peace and hardness of heart, cruelty, and killing. The answer is, they can't.
We need to find ways of working together, but the path is not easy, because people don't seem to want to change their ways. They want to live in God's concessions and their own indulgences. That is, unless they are cajoled or embarrassed into accepting some change.
Most of the Church claims to be "pro-life", but they are really only anti-abortion of human babies; for many of them continue to support war, capital punishment, hunting, and the killing and eating of animals from the unbelievably cruel and inhumane animal agriculture industry. Furthermore, they support this suffering and cruelty from their pulpits and through their social and fund-raising functions. We need to let them see that they are both hypocritical and not pro-life.
If a Church has a function or fund raiser where they are glorifying the pain and suffering inflicted upon animals by serving their body parts, then we need to politely go and let them know what they are doing, including showing graphic photos. If it makes people get sick to their stomachs, so be it, for it is far better to have such things happen now, than to have the Lord spew these people out of His mouth as we are told in Revelation 3:16.
Gandhi made a peaceful stand against the English Christians and won independence from Great Britain. King made a similar stance for the rights of African Americans in the United States. Both of these men tried their cases before the Christian Church and in the media, and they succeeded. The animal rights and compassionate vegan movements must learn from these lessons and present their cases in similar ways, and continue to do so until the hearts of the people are softened and changed. What better way to do this than from within houses of worship.
No one who claims to believe in God can seriously support the evil perpetrated on God's creatures. All the excuses in the world cannot justify society's condoning of the atrocities animals are forced to suffer. So, if God is on our side, who can be against us? All we need to do to succeed is persist in telling and living the truth. Only with persistence will we succeed. Now it is up to us.
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