Challenging Church Compassion – 12: Chased Away “JW”
We had an email exchange with JW about his experiences in two churches. Because of the length of the letters, we will talk about the first church in this Challenging Church Compassion post, and we’ll discuss the second church in our next post.
I am a grad student at Illinois State University, a member of PETA, a vegan, and a listener of goveganradio.com (via podcast). Last week, you mentioned that you’d like to know about churches that promote animal cruelty and use them as fundraising events. I’d like to let you know about two churches of which I was a part during my youth and during my undergraduate studies.
The first is perhaps the most extreme, often cultish, and the main reason why I had a falling out with the Catholic Church. The St. Francis of Assisi Newman Center on the campus of Western Illinois University (www.newmanonfire.org) where they advertise that they are trying to welcome all and bring Jesus to the campus; however, they have Sunday dinners which include meat products and byproducts, retreats where all the meals include meat or animal byproducts, and holiday meals which (surprise!) serve meat and animal byproducts. Moreover, the chaplain himself hunts and promotes hunting, flaunting his love for hunting in his online bio and holding a “Hunter’s mass” at the start of every hunting season. ‘When he’s not fulfilling his priestly duties, you might find him watching The Bourne Identity, playing ultimate Frisbee or planning his next hunting trip.’” JW
We hear many of these same kinds of sad stories, where the churches seem to show a total lack of compassion for animals and the people who care about them. And unfortunately many of the pastors in these churches flaunt their killer philosophy, and they end up chasing compassionate people away.
We asked JW if this hard of heart attitude was still present in the church today, and JW responded, “At the Newman Center at WIU, their views have not changed, the chaplain still hunts as is signified by his up-to-date personal bio, and the meals are now “tradition.”
Our hope and prayer is that Pope Francis will reverse this trend in the Catholic Church, and that other churches would wake up to the emotional and physical harm they are causing, and change their ways to once again become the loving, compassionate and peacemaking children of God.