by Mary T. Hoffman
In Matthew 5:10-12, Jesus says:
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when men [and women] cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” ~ New American Standard Bible
Reading this passage brings to mind the contempt with which so many people are regarded when they try to bring some sanity and compassion into the way “the least among us” – billions of nonhuman animals – are treated in this fallen world. Sooner or later, “self-righteous” is one of those overused epithets cast in the direction of anyone who tries to bring about much-needed positive change, as well as accusations of “caring more about the animals than they do about people.”
These mockers and accusers, even if they claim to be “believers,” are actually treading on very dangerous ground. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes! They ought to open their Bibles and read who “the accuser” that they are emulating is. (Revelation 12:10)
10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser [Satan] of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.” ~ New American Standard Bible
Unfortunately, churches are playing right into the hands of Satan by driving away those who are actually living closer to the ideals of Jesus that He clearly outlines in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). Jesus says that those who are gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers are blessed. It is easy to see that ethical vegans, who are trying to bring basic rights into the treatment of God’s creatures, are living closer to His ideals.
Any thinking person realizes that if Jesus were physically on earth today He would be very angry with the people who claim to be His followers and who let other people do the torture and killing of “food animals” for them, or who do it themselves. I’m sure Jesus would use the word “hypocrites” to describe them. After all, in Matthew and Luke, He uses the word “hypocrites” sixteen times to describe the hard-of-heart religious leaders of His day. And to compound the problem, today’s church people ridicule the loving, compassionate, peacemaking children of God who try to end the violence and suffering.