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All-Creatures Blog


Our subjects cover: animals, religion (Christian, Jewish and others); diet and lifestyle (vegan and vegetarian); and other miscellaneous subjects.

All-Creatures Blog
By Steve - 8 Jun 2013

Re: Challenging Church Compassion – 20: Kicked Out for Animal Beliefs

We all seek church communities where we feel comfortable, and there can be different components that determine whether or not we are comfortable. I can only speak for myself, but I would be very uncomfortable in an environment in which neither I nor others could speak their minds because their views deviated from that church’s orthodoxy. It has been my strong impression that the main effect (and probably the main intended purpose) of suppressing dissent is to defend victimization. Those who benefit from victimizing vulnerable individuals do not want their evil deeds to come to light, and they defend their malevolent actions with self-serving interpretations of religious (or secular sacred, e.g. the Constitution) texts. This strategy requires that dissent, which would expose their lies, not be allowed. The main risk of permitting open discussion and debate is that silly or irrelevant views will be voiced. While this can waste people’s time, it is a small price to pay for the benefits of free expression of ideas.

As Mike notes, churches are free to control the discourse within their walls, but I wouldn’t want any part of that. As an aside, this freedom of churches to suppress viewpoints is a good reason to question whether religious institutions (or perhaps any institutions) should be tax exempt and have contributions be tax exempt. It seems to me that the U.S. Constitution forbids the state from promoting any religion (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”), and the favorable tax status of religious institutions constitutes a form government sponsorship of religion.