He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Last week, we left off pondering some questions that the above article brought to mind. How are we going to connect our job here on earth to bring about the kingdom of God with regard to the systemic evil we are witnessing everywhere in our industries that deal with the animal kingdom? How are we going to align our faith values and actions on a personal and corporate level within the faith communities to combat these evils? In this weeks post, we’ll discuss these questions.
In the article, we learned that many industry insiders and animal rights skeptics claim that investigations like this only show isolated and extreme cases of cruelty. The sad truth is that these cruel and barbaric practices are commonplace – there is a whole video archive of these incidents spanning over a long time period, involving many different factory farms. It is a systemic, industry wide epidemic.
So how do we combat these evils? In today’s climate, the consumer holds many keys to better treatment of animals by not buying products that cause animal cruelty. Wherever possible we align our faith values with our choices as consumers, and do as Greg Boyd (pastor, theologian, author) suggested in a quote posted in Part One:
- With much prayer we educate ourselves, family and friends, and opt out of evil wherever possible with careful choices that line up with our faith values;
- We personally ask lawmakers for laws that protect animals;
- We vote for folks who will take non-violence to the animal kingdom seriously – we tell them what we expect of them;
- We ask our faith leaders to take the call for a theological basis for creation care earnestly, to begin making this a part of each and every church body’s ministry. Just as churches would have groups responsible to create food programs to feed the poor or do missionary work, we ask them to create creation care ministries responsible to combat animal cruelty, provide humane education, rescue the homeless animals, feed the animals on the streets and in homes that cannot afford to feed their pets, help with vet care where needed, find out what animal shelters need and help them;
- We aren’t divisive with the animal welfare community; instead, we learn from them, take a stand with them, bring the light of Jesus to an area of the secular community that is readily turning their backs on the love of Christ because of what our complacency with animal warfare erroneously says about our Savior Jesus Christ and His love for all creation. We instead fight with them in the trenches as we would with the poor, drug addicted, prison rape, gang violence, or sex trafficking organizations that fight for their causes in the human population; we bring the real Jesus to them.
These are acts of war, some ways we fight the war and tell Satan “You are defeated!”
Regarding the article: I’m sure there are some that do treat their animals kindly, don’t kick, throw, stab, and break limbs or leave their animals to die painfully when they are too sick to carry on. Too many are not kind, however. They are used to too many people turning a blind eye on what they do – agencies that are supposed to act as watchdogs and protect animals from this further extreme of abuses; other government bodies with the power to put an end to much of it but don’t; the general public’s blindness to the issues which includes, and especially, faith communities. Standing against evil unleashed upon the animal kingdom is part of the war we promised to fight when we said “yes” to follow Christ – all of creation is the battleground! The nature of a CAFO is also not humane no matter what the industry may tell us (Satan’s lie) – animal confinement of this kind is extremely inhumane, even when the animals don’t have other human violence committed against them.
Today we know that rape is an act of violence. This behavior, however, use to be accepted; a woman was asked what she did to deserve it (see the movie “The Burning Bed” with Farrah Fawcett). Praise God this isn’t the case any longer. For the most part, women are no longer seen as subservient to men.
God has been forced throughout history to meet us where we are and work with what He’s got to work with. For example:
- Women were not created to be subservient; this is and never was scriptural; to lord it over another has always been Satanic in nature. Paul’s message for men and women to submit to one another was completely counter-cultural, an act of spiritual warfare, as it turned the customs upside down and challenged strongly held religious beliefs. Paul’s teaching that “husbands should love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave His life for her” (Eph 5:21-25) would have been seen as heresy.
- Slavery is another practice that, in the customs and cultures of that day, was completely normal; it was an act of spiritual warfare when Paul taught that slaves and masters should submit to one another within their given ranks, and again, completely counter-cultural (see Eph 6:5-9).
God is breaking through and breaking down our Satanic influenced, top-down hierarchical, cultural customs! God’s way is for the stronger to serve the weaker, and for all to submit to one another under Christ as the head of the church. The weaker amongst us includes the animal kingdom, of which we were specifically created to govern; it was and is our first mandate.
The violence we see portrayed in this article, caught on tape, isn’t any more acceptable than rape, beating children, abusing vulnerable adults and the elderly; than husbands lording it over their wives, or than slavery. What’s in the article and on tape is systemic evil that we all need to acknowledge, repent of, revolt against along with God.
Animals are sentient, feel pain, suffer, are vulnerable, and under our power. Further more, what is read and seen here is an abuse of our God given power over the weaker amongst us. He will hold those accountable who are responsible for these acts of violence. He will also hold faith communities accountable for their inaction.
As those who love the Lord, let’s be intentional as His viceroys in manifesting the kingdom of God on earth, stop the trend in faith communities of turning a blind eye on animal abuse, “clothe ourselves in love” in all we do – every choice we make – as an act of war against Satan and the kingdom of darkness. Every time we choose not to partake in systemic evil wherever possible, like the factory farming industry, or choosing clothing that did not cause cruelty, or when we speak out and take the position of an activist for the animal kingdom, we are declaring war with the Lord against Satan! “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.” (Psalm 24:1). Animals are His – we are to take care of them for Him and fight for their welfare!
For more on Spiritual warfare and how it pertains to the work of the cross of Christ (highly recommended reading):
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more on the topic of “Spiritual Warfare and the Animal Kingdom” next week! Thanks for following our blog, your comments always welcome! Blessings ~ Kathy