The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman
Family Foundation

Letters and Responses

A Letter From R...
Christianity, Animal Rights and Veganism
(18 October 1998)

R's e-mail to flh@all-creatures.org:

I have been very curious to find out more about animal rights and veganism. Myself being a very strong Christian, I have had many questions how animal rights issues (protest, lock-downs, direct action) fit in with the Christian lifestyle. When I came across your web-site, I was very excited. Any information you could give me would be very helpful. Thank you.

R...

Our Response:

Dear R...:

Thank you for your visit and e-mail. We don't have a specific piece of literature that addresses your concern directly, but we can offer some help in this area.

I have begun a new book, Shooting Ourselves in the Foot: The Sanitizing of Violence in Our Society. You might want to read some of these articles that we have posted so far on our web site, as they address the societal problem, a problem into which some animal rights advocates have unfortunately fallen.

If we look at the ideal Christian example, we are to unconditionally love God and each other. This is foremost to anything else. If we consider this a little further, and in particular what it means to truly love God, I believe we should come to the conclusion that if we truly love God, we will also truly love all of God's creation, too. This includes the physical world and that which is beyond, the animals and ourselves. Let me give you an example: if a person is an artist and paints a picture and lovingly gives it to us, and we in turn destroy it because we either don't care about it, or don't like it, we would hurt the artist very much, emotionally. Thus, I believe we do the same to God, when we abuse any aspect of His creation.

I believe that to speak out against anything that is unloving or discompassionate is just as much a Christian responsibility as it is to spread the Gospel, for the Gospel is a message of peace and hope for a return to the perfect, a time in which, once again, there will no longer be any pain or suffering or death. However, in the process, we must remember how Jesus approached those who didn't understand. He could have destroyed or harmed them, but He never did. He simply presented the truth, and trusted in the Holy Spirit to continue to minister to those who heard. We cannot force a change in another person's life. Such a change must come from within.

If we are unloving and discompassionate to the people who represent that which we are against, we deliver a mixed message; and, I believe we actually do harm to our cause. We need to equally balance animal rights with human rights, and also with environmental concerns.

I personally don't believe we do very much lasting good through most direct protests, lock-downs, or direct physical action. We need to do more educating and less protesting. We need to unsanitize the violence that takes place in bringing flesh to the plate. We need to help people feel the pain and suffering we contribute to when we eat flesh. To us, this is the only way we are going to bring about a lasting change. This also applies to using animals for our pleasure, such as in circus acts, rodeos, or sports events.

I hope this helps.

We look forward to hearing from you again.

In the Love of the Lord,

Frank

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