History is Repeating Itself!
Thomas Paine, wrote in The Age of Reason (1794), "The most detestable
wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have
afflicted the human race have their origin in this thing called revelation,
or revealed religion…
"Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to itself, than this thing called Christianity...My mind is my own church."
In a 1989 interview with the now-defunct Animals' Agenda, Reverend Andrew Linzey, an Anglican priest and the foremost theologian in the field of animal-human relations, drew a parallel between animal and human slavery, saying that history is repeating itself with regard to animals:
"Now, just think of the difficulties that those early Christian abolitionists had to face. Scripture defended slavery. For instance, in Leviticus 25, you're commanded to take the child of a stranger as a slave...St. Paul simply said that those who were Christian slaves should be better Christians.
"Almost unanimously, apart from St. Gregory, the church fathers defended slavery, and for almost 1800 years, Christians defended and supported slavery."
On the other hand, in a 1991 essay, "The Bible and Killing for Food," Reverend Linzey writes:
"...it often comes as a surprise for Christians to realize that the modern vegetarian movement was strongly biblical in origin. Inspired by the original command in Genesis 1, an Anglican priest, William Cowherd, founded the Bible Christian Church in 1809 and made vegetarianism compulsory among its members.
"The founding of this Church in the United Kingdom and its sister Church in the United States by William Metcalfe, effectively heralded the beginning of the modern vegetarian movement.")
The church of the past never considered human slavery to be a moral evil. The Protestant churches of Virginia, South Carolina, and other southern states, actually passed resolutions in favor of the human slave traffic.
Human slavery was called "by Divine Appointment," "a Divine institution," "a moral relation," "God’s institution," "not immoral," but "founded in right." The slave trade was called "legal," "licit," "in accordance with humane principles" and "the laws of revealed religion."
New Testament verses calling for obedience and subservience on the part of slaves (Titus 2:9-10, Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:22-25, I Peter 2:18-25) and respect for the master (I Timothy 6:1-2, Ephesians 6:5-9) were often cited in order to justify human slavery. Some of Jesus’ parables refer to human slaves. Paul’s epistle to Philemon concerns a runaway slave returned to his master.
The Quakers were one of the earliest Christian denominations to condemn (human) slavery.
"Paul's outright endorsement of slavery should be an undying embarrassment to Christianity as long as they hold the entire New Testament to be the word of God," wrote Quaker physician Dr. Charles P. Vaclavik in his 1986 book, The Vegetarianism of Jesus Christ: the Pacifism, Communalism, and Vegetarianism of Primitive Christianity.
"Without a doubt, the American slaveholders quoted Paul again and again to substantiate their right to hold slaves.
"The moralist movement to abolish slavery had to go to non-biblical sources to demonstrate the immoral nature of slavery. The abolitionists could not turn to Christian sources to condemn slavery, for Christianity had become the bastion of the evil practice through its endorsement by the Apostle Paul.
"Only the Old Testament gave the abolitionist any Biblical support in his effort to free the slaves. ‘You shall not surrender to his master a slave who has taken refuge with you.’ (Deuteronomy 23-15) What a pittance of material opposing slavery from a book supposedly representing the word of God."
In 1852 Josiah Priest wrote Bible Defense of Slavery. Others claimed blacks were subhuman. Buckner H. Payne, calling himself "Ariel," wrote in 1867, "the tempter in the Garden of Eden...was a beast, a talking beast ... the negro."
Ariel argued that since the negro was not part of Noah’s family, he must have been a beast. Eight souls were saved on the ark, therefore, the negro must be a beast, and "consequently he has no soul to be saved."
Journalist Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State writes about Gary North and the Christian Reconstructionists in his 2003 book, Why the Religious Right is Wrong About Separation of Church and State:
"Reconstructionists trace their ides to John Calvin, the French theologian... Calvin's Geneva was a harsh theocracy that suppressed religious liberty. Nonetheless, Geneva under Calvin remains the Reconstructionists' model society.
"Virginia-based Reconstructionist Byron Snapp was even harsher in his analysis of the dangers of religious toleration and pluralism:
"'The Christian must realize that pluralism is a myth. God and His law must rule all nations... At no point in Scripture do we read that God teaches, supports or condones pluralism. To support pluralism is to recognize all religions as equal.'
"Reconstructionists advocate the death penalty for a variety of offenses... go beyond advocating criminal acts such as murder and rape... striking or cursing a parent, adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, 'unchastity,' witchcraft, juvenile delinquency, blasphemy, propagation of 'false doctrines,' and sacrificing to 'false gods.'
"R.J. Rushdoony wrote, 'Thus, when New England passed laws requiring the death penalty for incorrigible delinquents and for children who struck their parents, no executions were necessary: the law kept the children in line.'
(The Puritans also opposed gambling, a fact which seems to have escaped many Christians!)
"Like Rushdoony, North also has little use for democracy and once wrote, 'The modern world has been threatened by the rise of mass democracy, the politics of one man, one vote.'
"And when it comes to implementing the death penalty for various religious 'crimes,' North outdoes Rushdoony. To North, stoning has a nice biblical ring to it. North has researched the issue extensively and once listed five reasons why stoning is the method of choice for executing today's idolater:
"Stones are plentiful and available at no cost; No single blow can be traced to a single person, thus reducing feelings of guilt; Stoning displays the collective responsibility for crime prevention; Executions should be public events; And stoning is symbolic of God's crushing the head of Satan as prophesied in Genesis 3:5
"Christians who believe in a 'spirit-filled' theology often marked by speaking in tongues, faith healing, and loud, spontaneous worship services... under a Reconstructionist government, such forms of worship would be considered unlawful and might warrant the death penalty.
"Rushdoony himself blasted charismatics in a 1982 book titled Law and Society. Wrote Rushdoony, 'The mindless, meaningless babble of such worship is common to paganism, ancient and modern, where it is often associated with spiritual possession. It is in any form alien to the biblical faith...
(Since the thousands of Christian denominations hold widely differing views on the divinity of Jesus, the afterlife, the Trinity, grace Vs works, drinking, gambling, speaking in tongues, faith healing, nuclear weapons, divorce, same-sex relations, capital punishment, abortion, animal rights, etc... there's no reason they can't be accepting, or at least tolerant of Eastern religions similarly professing a belief in the saving grace of a personal God, welcoming them into the American mainstream.)
"The Reconstructionists have tried on a few occasions to launch a political arm. Their first effort was called the Coalition On Revival (COR)... called for abolishing public education, forming countrywide 'militias,' and dismantling the Federal Reserve... Dr. Theodore Baehr, a COR steering committee member... has called for implementation of a restrictive film code that would ban, among other things, 'lustful kissing' and 'dances that suggest or represent sexual actions' in movies."
The early American feminist and vegetarian Elizabeth Cady Stanton observed that "the Bible…does not exalt and dignify women."Husbands are to rule over wives (Genesis 3:16), young girls are to be stoned (and not with marijuana, either!) for losing their virginity (Deuteronomy 22:20-21), women are subordinate to men (Ephesians 5:22-24), women must remain silent in the churches (I Corinthians 14:34-35), women are not allowed to teach or hold authority over men (I Timothy 2:11-14).
St. Augustine said, "Any woman who acts in such a way that she cannot give birth to as many children as she is capable of, makes herself guilty of that many murders."
Martin Luther wrote: "God created Adam lord of all living creatures, but Eve spoiled it all. Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house and bear children. And if a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing; she is there to do it."
Even Pope John Paul II instructed women to go back to their traditional roles as "obedient and serving companions to their husbands," and refused to have an audience with anyone advocating the ordination of women in the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Encyclopedia still declares that women are inferior to the male sex, "both as regards body and soul."
I commented in 2010 that Carrie Prejean represents all that’s wrong with Christianity today. You remember Carrie Prejean, right? She's the beauty queen who posed for topless photos (after a boob job?), later claiming the wind accidentally blew her top off?
I write this not out of envy or spite… she’s probably out of my league anyway!
Fornication is acceptable to today’s Christians, same-sex relations are not.
Wine is acceptable to today’s Christians (and anyone who says otherwise is a “Muslim,” of the “devil,” or both!), marijuana is not.
Secular arguments to protect the unborn (e.g. John Morrow, Dr. J.C. Willke, protecting fertilized bald eagle eggs, the "I don't think so" argument, etc.) are good politics, because secular arguments are religion-neutral, and thus applicable to everyone, including atheists and agnostics. Secular arguments to protect animals are met with the cry, “MOVE”!
Protecting the unborn is a Christian duty, whereas protecting animals is dismissed as “good work.”
I’m surprised pro-choice Christians aren’t dismissing protecting the unborn as “good work,” citing “three times…” to justify their right to an abortion; dismissing whatever meager concern for the unborn is given in the Law as “garbage,” etc. in response to pro-lifers!
I pointed out to the late Reverend Janet Regina Hyland (1933 - 2007) in 2003 that Reverend Frank Hoffman had said that conservative Christians are deliberately lying about church-state separation, trying to make Thomas Jefferson look like a Christian, he thundered, "This is an abomination!"
When I told Regina, that Frank sounded like a fundamentalist himself in his response to the Christian theocrats, Regina said, "Hey, you gotta fight fire with fire!"
Regina graciously received a copy of Rob Boston's 2003 book, Why the Religious Right is Wrong About Separation of Church and State which I sent her. But she said she didn't think the religious right posed a serious threat to our secular democracy. And Regina Hyland was living in Florida, a Southern state at the time, and this was during the George W. Bush administration!
On another occasion, Regina said the Southern Baptists split from the mainline Baptists over the issue of slavery! Animal activists must not let the abortion issue divide the animal rights movement.
And after being educated on the long history of animal advocacy and concern for animals within Christianity, including current trends in animal liberation theology (I’ve written extensively on the subject, and although one major problem with the theological approach is that arguments can be made on both sides of the coin, that’s true of abortion, too!), Christians aren't saying “Like civil rights and/or protection of unborn children, animal rights is a Christian cause. This is a cause we Christians must support!”
No, they still cry, “MOVE”! As if we were discussing some lifeless, soulless thing, devoid of religious inspiration. (Kinda like the past five hundred years of *secular* social progress and technology, which even conservative Christians have embraced, huh?!)