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
Why do we, as retired clergy say, "The church's indifference to the suffering of EVEN companion animals?" It's because the church is indifferent to the horrible suffering of animals who are raised and killed for their furs, which is evidenced by the number of people who wear their furs to church. It's also because the church glorifies the suffering of farmed animals with their fund raising and other dinners.
One would think that at least the church would truly care about the well being of companion animals, because of the number of their members who have them as companions; but sadly in most cases, this isn't true.
We recently received a letter from a woman who had first hand experience with the church's indifference to the suffering of a companion animal.
"I have not ever written a long story here. But, I feel it fitting to tell my little story here now.
When I moved to my new location 2 years ago I started attending a local non-denominational church.
I really wanted to find a church home.
One Sunday, after service let out, hundreds of people filed out of the parking lot. Every single vehicle passed by a cat who was lying in the road, clearly visible.
The cat was not there prior to service, or else I definitely would have noticed him or her when driving in.
On top of my hurt and alarmed concern for the cat (my "primal instinct" to get him/her out of the road, to help and assess if he/she was actually alive, or not), I was deeply hurt by the fact that not one car stopped to help the cat. The word "hypocrites" came to my mind."
To read the whole story see:
We receive these kinds of comments all the time from people who have been hurt by the hardness of heart that they have encountered in churches all around the world. And, it should not happen.
If the clergy truly love the God they claim to love, then they would also love the whole of God's creation. They would teach this kind of love to their congregations, and encourage them to do the same. They would work to end everything that causes suffering to: our fellow human beings, the other animals that God created, and the environment. But alas, very few do this, and even worse, most of them actually encourage the continued suffering, particularly when it comes to animals, and those who care about them.
No one in this church cared about the welfare of the cat in the road, because it wasn't "their's", and because they couldn't be bothered. This church could end this kind of indifference, if it wanted to, but it chooses not to. The church remained silent. This needs to end!
The church's silence is promoting violence: it has done violence to people's God-given emotions and sensitivities by destroying their empathy and hardening their hearts; and it has done violence to this woman by making her feel that the church is filled with hypocrites, which apparently in this case, is true.
We need to wake up!
The church needs to be the loving, compassionate, peacemaking children of God that the Lord has called us to be.
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.
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