Pausing from our topic of “Mankind’s Dominion” to talk a moment about this important breaking news story. The State of Idaho passed the Ag-Gag legislation that went before their Governor. For those who may not be familiar with Ag-Gag legislation, they are bills being put forth by the agricultural industry within the State governments that seek to make it illegal for anyone not employed by the farms — or anyone who misrepresented themselves in order to gain employment — from making recordings of what goes on there without the operators’ explicit consent. The industry wants to hide what goes on behind closed doors and make it illegal for us to find out about it and show the world.
This bill passing is alarming for many reasons. The industry is paying off politicians to self regulate. The majority of the voters in this country have said no to these bills. We are putting more than animals welfare in jeopardy (of course that is enough in itself); as Lindsay Abrams says in this article: ‘“You are also stopping environmental whistleblowing; you are also stopping workers’ rights whistleblowing.” In short, “you have given power to the industry to completely self-regulate.” That should “scare the pants off” consumers concerned about where their food comes from. “It’s the consumer’s right to know, but also the employee’s right to tell. You gotta have both.”’
That should scare the pants off consumers, indeed citizens, of the country for many reasons. Industry is taking control over all our lives, and it won’t be just about food. Just as concerning as the industries themselves is the apathy of the majority. The lack of voice from prominent leaders, leaders in our schools, churches – our government leaders have sold themselves to the devil and are riding that “long black train.” Who’s leading and taking a stand against the devil?
As a FB friend from Australia said when she posted this news on her time line: “These Ag-Gag laws demonstrate a totalitarian government; if Ag-Gag laws are passed by our Australian Government, there will be hell to pay.” I am seriously wondering about America and the American people. Will they remain silent? Will they even know? If there is a stir about this in America (there will be in animal welfare), will it come from places other than animal welfare, as well? It should. Will we hear about any of this on the local news channels? From the church?
My friend Matt from the blog “Loving All Our Neighbors” latest post is excellent. There is an article he linked to, by Walter Wink, called “Jesus’ Third Way.” Both Matt’s post and this article are well worth the read. Walter Wink explains that “turning the other cheek,” “walking a second mile” in the bible does not refer to allowing the oppressors to oppress. In biblical times, “turning the other cheek” indicated to the one who backhanded you that his attempts to shame you into servility have failed. Likewise, when telling the Roman soldier when he tells you to give him back his back pack, “that’s okay, I’ll carry it another mile” – carrying it another mile is an infraction of military code! Just think of the trouble you can cause the Roman soldier! As Walter Wink says, “Imagine a Roman infantryman pleading with a Jew to give back his pack! The humor of this scene may have escaped us, but it could scarcely have been lost on Jesus’ hearers, who must have been delighted at the prospect of thus discomfiting their oppressors.”
Jesus isn’t telling us to be violent, and He isn’t telling us to be doormats. There is a “third way.” We are to oppose evil on it’s own terms. He is urging us to transcend both passivity and violence by finding a way that is assertive and yet nonviolent. We are never to be apathetic. Walter writes, “Jesus is not advocating nonviolence merely as a technique for outwitting the enemy, but as a just means of opposing the enemy in a way that holds open the possibility of the enemy’s becoming just also. Both sides must win.”
Those who perpetrate the oppression and the violence need the church! The church has a responsibility to face the powers of darkness in the industries wrecking havoc with creation for the “possibility of the enemy’s becoming just also.”
Animal welfare needs the church! Welfarists need Christ’s love, His salvation, His protection, His leadership, His direction, His mighty Power, in this fight! They need the church to step alongside them. For the most part today, welfarists stand alone against the evil they see happening to the animal kingdom by the oppressor (Eph 6:12). They are doing all they can to create good; to create change in laws for better animal welfare while they remain gridlocked within societies political, socioeconomic, and worldly cultural environments.
Most advocates for animal welfare use amicable, nonviolent methods (likely all animal welfarists have signed a petition or a thousand!). They may even physically take a stand by peaceful picketing at Circus or a vivisection lab. They demonstrate unselfish care and concern for those that cannot speak for themselves. They teach others how to do the same. They get in the trenches and rescue animals from lives of abuse, pain, torture and pure hell. Many give all their money, time and talents. Without them, without those willing to risk it all to video tape the atrocities happening at the hand of the industries that most of the world’s people who are in the dark about what is happening blindly allow so much power, we would all be in the dark about the ways these industries are exploiting not only animals, but people, the political process, the economic scales, the environment.
Not only is Jesus telling us to take a stand against evil, He also said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” (Matt 16:24) Turn from our selfish ways? Apart from our “pet” cats/dogs, the animal world is either considered a nuisance, pests, food, game, clothing/shoes, sport, entertainment, science projects, wildlife (of which we are edging off the face of the earth). Follow Him where? In this dark world full of oppression and injustice, one of those places it makes sense we would follow Him is into the trenches, being the voice, the hands, the feet, the arms of Jesus for ALL of His creation that are oppressed, downtrodden, forgotten, chained, abused, force fed, beaten, starving, freezing, caged, languishing in filth, tortured, suffocating, terrorized, ET al, unjustly (Powers of oppression and spiritual warfare bible verses, and here bible verses looking out for and caring for the lesser/weaker among us; the principle of the stronger caring for the weaker amongst us permeates the entire scripture).
In Lois Wye’s latest post on Dominion in the Image of God, she said: “Isaac Bashevis Singer was a man who knew something about the misuse of power. A Noblel prize winning author, he immigrated to the United States from Poland shortly before World War II due to the growing Nazi threat. Animals often appear in his stories. In a short story entitled The Letter Writer, he wrote this about the helplessness of animals in the face of unlimited human power:
- In his thoughts, Herman spoke a eulogy for the mouse who had shared a portion of her life with him and who, because of him, had left this earth. ‘What do they know — all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world — about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide them with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.”
To sum up, it is our Lord’s call for all to be “merciful just as the Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) In the book “Animal Welfare: Through The Cross; A Collection of Animal Christian Concern Articles,” by Roslyne Smith (partner author on this site), May Tripp writes in A Letter to Christians: “Jesus our Saviour, will return to claim His own and to judge us all. We are a fallen people and our fallenness is both insidious and obvious. We are all culpable and none must judge his or her brother. But His injunction is difficult to keep when the brother is constantly seen to be “passing by on the other side.” So please, remember that when Christ Jesus does return, He will expect more of His followers than of others (Luke 12) yet at the moment it is secular animal welfarists who are numerically leading in the struggle against profit-motivated animal abuse. What then of our Christian responsibility to transform the world rather than to be conformed to it? It seems the boot is on the wrong foot! But the assurance of salvation carries with it the responsibility to uphold Christ’s standard in the battle against evil wherever it is found. That is the task of Christ’s people. It is not our prerogative to use the assurance of salvation as a couch for our own apathy.” (James 1:22; 2:14)
Thanks for stopping by and reading ~Kathy