Columnist asks if Christians should care about animal welfare

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Christianity Today blogger Ed Stetzer put this question out to his readers on Thursday: Should Christians Care about Animal Welfare?

My answer? – Of course; absolutely; with a doubt. After all, compassion was a primary focus for Jesus. From the Bible to Saint Francis of Assisi to most recently, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, we’ve seen a long history of compassion for animals from Christianity.

In addition, studies are showing those who engage in animal cruelty also end up abusing people.

There is one key statement in Stetzer’s piece that I take a bit of exception to:

Furthermore, the radicalization of the animal rights movements has, I think, scared away many Christian leaders. Yet, as the video shows, that’s not always been the case.

This is misconception that too many people are stepping into. Sure, some groups have ramped up the actions in protesting animal cruelty. But this does not change the fact that animals are being abuse in horrible ways all over the country and the planet.

I’m not at all accusing Stetzer here, but the phrase “animal rights movement” usually comes from the crowd who wants to shut down any progress in protecting animals from cruelty. These folks hate on groups like the Humane Society of the US or the ASPCA, in an effort to discredit anyone who wants to protect animals from abuse.

And in so many cases, the effort comes from those with a monetary stake in defending industries from any regulations.

But I should focus back on Stetzer’s main theme. Yes – Christians and those from all religious affiliations should care about animal welfare. Compassion should be a primary focus of all religions. And compassion should not have a such a narrow focus that it is limited to one species.

Who could reasonably state, on religious grounds or by any standards, that we should not care about the suffering of innocent people and animals? Of course we should care.

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