The Fellowship of Life
"Man was meant to love and give himself to God and to love his
neighbour as a fellow creature of God...If we are in love with God, then
there is no room for a selfish attitude to God's other children."
So wrote a bishop in his diocesan newsletter. It would be comforting
to believe that he was referring to all of God's creation; but
experience sadly shows that only man 'merits' the concern, consideration
and compassion of a great many churchmen.
If this was not so, how could there still be millions of God's other
creatures undergoing painful experimental procedures designed 'for the
health and welfare' of man; close and unnatural confinement for the
production of food for man, and agonising deaths for the entertainment,
or clothing of man?
This Association believes it is time the Church's ministers faced up
to their responsibilities with regard to the totality of God's creation
- the land, the sea and the sky, and the creatures that share these
environments with man. Without them, man can no longer exist. For that
reason, if no other, the ecological nettle must be grasped.
October 4 is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, who did care
about the earth and all its denizens. What a splendid opportunity for
ministers to waken their flocks to their responsibilities to the earth
and its non-human inhabitants.
It is a sad and lamentable fact that many people within the Christian
tradition have regarded the right treatment of animals as peripheral or
irrelevant to their Christian faith.
However, it is not a peripheral side issue but central to a Gospel
which insists that we are morally responsible and accountable beings.
Those people who dedicate their life to the destruction of animal
life need to be told quite plainly by churchmen that they are failing in
their Christian profession and endangering their own moral integrity.
A number of eminent leaders in the Christian faith are doing so
already; how much more powerful their voices would be if they had the
backing of the Church as a whole.
(Mrs) B. E. Hardwick,
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