In Reference to: The Dominion of Love: Animal Rights According to the Bible
I just read Norm Phelps, The Dominion of Love (should be underlined) (2002). You all have probably already read this, but I pass on a strong recommendation in the event you have not read this fine work.
In addition to providing a good analysis of Scripture in the context of
animal rights, this book provided me with the following
realization: the problem we face in communicating our message is encouraging people to look at life FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE SUFFERING.
Human arrogance causes people to look at others and say, "you have rights" and "you don't". The problem is in giving ourselves that power to make that determination. In saying this, I am telling you something you already know - but it's important in terms of appreciating our audience and addressing them. We are addressing an audience that assumes the power of saying rodents or cows, etc. are inferior. I had a discussion recently with a colleague who said, "But animals aren't the same as people". My response was to say "if we were having this very discussion 250 years ago, you would have been saying, 'but blacks aren't the same as whites'". I hope the point made or will make an impression.
My point is this: I think the thrust of religious outreach needs to be simply encouraging people to look at suffering from the perspective of the suffering. It is a practice in empathy and sympathy that we need; and a dismissal of arrogance, i.e., putting ourselves in God's shoes. To this end, I will be continuing to write letters and sending e-mail to Church leaders (Roman Catholic, Jewish, others). I will keep you apprised of any significant developments.
REASON FOR OPTIMISM
I heard there is a movie out, "The 11th Hour", that is an extension of Al Gore's power-point presentation movie hit. There is a sensitivity developing that our actions impact others and our environment. I am optimistic.
Best wishes to you all -