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
Subornation of Perjury: Gospels of Fear
Subornation of perjury is a legal term meaning to knowingly supply a false witness or induce a person to testify falsely. A lawyer who presents such testimony or document can be disbarred. Yet, within the church, we have allowed such perjured testimony to be presented as the truth. Why has this occurred? Because we live in Gospels of Fear, while saying we follow the Gospels of Love.
In Matthew 22:36, Jesus was tested with a question that points to the heart of this discussion:
36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
37 And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
38 "This is the great and foremost commandment.
39 "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
In other words, everything presented in the Bible (the meaning of the Law and the Prophets) is summed up in Love. If a person's interpretation or teaching challenges unconditional love, then they are not following what Jesus is teaching us.
Let's look at this in the light of what John tells us in his first epistle (4:18):
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
Jesus and John are teaching us that, in God and in the Gospels of Jesus' life on earth (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), there is nothing to fear, not even death, or at least there shouldn't be any fear; but that isn't the way the Church has lived, particularly after the third century. And because these Gospels incorporate the entire Hebrew Bible, we must use the same standards of love when presenting its teachings, too. Why haven't we done this? Because we fear, and are even taught to fear. We believe that these fears stem from feelings of inadequacy or from a fear of losing their perceived position of superiority or status if they accept the equality or status of another being whether human or non-human.
Let's look at several of these situations that currently exist or have existed within the Church:
The Church sponsored the Crusades for political reasons and because they feared the teachings of those who differed in their opinions. If these supposed "infidels" didn't change their beliefs, they were killed. Where is the love of neighbor in such actions, or the love of an enemy as Jesus taught us in His "Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 5:44).
From the pulpits clergy have proclaimed that some people have no souls (Blacks, Jews, etc.). This perjured testimony allowed slavery and the Holocaust to come to fruition. This subornation of perjury led to the suffering and death of millions of people. People feared we could not survive without slave labor, so the Church tried to justify it. The Nazis taught the people to fear the Jews so that they would take out their anger and frustration on them, and the Lutheran Church in Germany condoned it.
Throughout the ages, people have presented the same false teachings about animals to justify their cruel treatment and killing of them. This has even occurred in our Bible translations. As an example, in Genesis 2:7 we are taught:
7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
KJV (emphasis added)
The Hebrew term translated "living soul" is neh-fesh khah-yaw,חיה נפש. Yet, if we look at Genesis 1:19 we see a different translation, even though the same Hebrew term, neh-fesh khah-yaw, is used.
19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
KJV (emphasis added)
Every pastor with any formal training has been taught how to understand the true meanings of the original languages. This last example doesn't even require any interpretation, for if a human is a living soul, then an animal is a living soul, and every being that we try to place in between is also a living soul; because we are all living souls, neh-fesh khah-yaw. But the Church has shown throughout its history that it would rather live in fear and suborn perjury.
Prejudice begins with making another person or being something less than ourselves. Typically, a person is called an animal, in general, or some specific animal, in particular, as if such name-calling would actually change their status before God. But before people, name calling has all too often changed their perceived status, because people want to believe the lie rather than the truth. People do this because making someone less than themselves gives them a false feeling of superiority. This is an example of the sin of the boastful pride of life.
If the Church did not suborn the perjury of the status of animals by denying that they are living souls, then no human could have been lowered to a soulless position, either; and many of the atrocities in history probably would not have been committed. The Church's continued silence on this subject has led to the most unbelievable atrocities being perpetrated upon animals.
It's time for the Church to confess its sins, speak the truth, and go forth and sin no more.
The intent of this series is to wake up and encourage the Church to greater works of love and compassion (John 14:12). It is not to condemn the Church, in general, or any individual, any more than Jesus condemned the woman caught in adultery. Jesus said to her, "...go your way. From now on sin no more." (John 8:11) And this is our message to the Church: Recognize our sins of the past and go forth seeking to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), correcting the sins of the past, for that is the only way we can truly show the world that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, might, and mind, including the whole of creation, which includes our neighbors whom we are to love as ourselves.
by Miriam - 9 Jul 2002
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