Church silence promotes violence to humans, to animals, to our
environment, to our economy, to our education, to our finances, and to our health.
By: Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman
Whatever the churches do in a community and whatever the churches support or reject in a community are seen as the moral standards that people are expected to follow, even if some individuals don't want to follow their example. There are, however, occasions when the church actually supports immoral activity. Such is the case when a church sponsors a chicken dinner or serves eggs at a breakfast.
A church has an obligation to learn about the evils of this world and to take a stand against them. Chicken farms are nothing like the Sanctuary photo to the left. They are concentration camps and places of torture and suffering. As Christians, as moral leaders, we do not have the option to stand on ignorance or indifference. Morally, we cannot ignore the immense torture and suffering that chickens are subjected to so that humans can eat their flesh and eggs.
Additionally, when churches blind themselves to the truth and support immoral behavior, such as the way chickens are raised on factory farms, we also do violence to the emotions and faith of many sensitive people, and many of them end up leaving the church.
We were sent the following prayer in an e-mail from Susan Roghair EnglandGal@aol.com, for to her it expressed one of the basic problems with the Church - its lack of sensitivity to the evils of this world.
by David Everett
For this morsel of flesh taken from a chicken born motherless by mechanical incubation and deprived of maternal cuddling;
Whose toes were chopped off at birth to prevent immobilized feet from growing into the wire mesh floor;
Whose beak was burned off, searing the delicate nostril tissue, to prevent hysterical pecking when the madness of crowding sets in;
Whose sedentary body was artificially fattened on barnyard offal laced with steroids, hormones, and antibiotics;
Whose thirst was quenched on the swill of the creature's own recycled waste;
Whose features fell to skin inflammations in the dank and prolonged darkness;
Whose spine dislocated under premature weight and mineral deprivation;
Whose body bubbled with cancerous growths, adding to it's market weight;
And whose existence from hatch to slaughter was one of unrelenting horror;
I wish to thank Thee for permitting me to eat of the tormented flesh as I incorporate it into the temple of my soul;
And beseech Thee to overlook my participation in the perpetuation of the technological nightmare inflicted on one of the innocent creatures of Eden.
-- In Christ's name. Amen
This prayer may sound sarcastic, and it may be, but it is also quite true. So, before we judge David Everett for his "prayer", let's look at what God said to another David when he sinned: "...because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme..." (2 Samuel 12:14) We don't believe that what David Everett wrote is blaspheming or even an expression of anger against the Lord, rather it is his expression of anger and indignation against the church for its support of the pain and suffering inflicted upon billions of God's loving creatures each year, and for our insensitivity of thanking God for it. David Everett is telling us that if we are going to thank God, then we should do it truthfully as his prayer suggests, or better yet, we should eliminate such church sponsored meals, and tell the public why we are eliminating them.
It is also interesting to note that there is no Jewish prayer for the eating of an animal's flesh, because it was not considered proper to thank God for the death of any living being. On the other hand, there are Jewish prayers of thanksgiving for bread and wine and for the other plant foods which God has brought forth from the earth. If we incorporate the Jewish Bible (Old Testament) into our Christian one, shouldn't we also observe some of their understandings of those Scriptures?
Every time we have a church sponsored chicken dinner, we are saying to the public that it is all right to mistreat chickens as in these last three photos. Chickens are not things such as ears of corn or tomatoes; they are living, breathing, sensitive creatures who deserve to enjoy their lives as God intended, just as much as we desire to enjoy ours.
It's time for us to stop blinding ourselves to the truth of what is going on in our factory farms and speak our against it. Our silence is doing violence, and it's time it stops.