This is a two part post. One, a short word about Cecil the lion. And two, perhaps a welcome diversion, I’ll be presenting a podcast that was done by Compassionate Action For Animals, a local animal welfare organization in the Minneapolis/St Paul area of Minnesota, USA, on faith and animal advocacy.
Cecil the Majestic Lion
In the wake of Cecil the lion’s death, I am writing this in hopes and with prayer that we would all take heart. This is a tragedy to be certain. This beautiful majestic being suffered until he was gunned down. And it is uncertain what will happen to the pride that was left behind.
The whole affair has spurred on a flurry of controversy around the incident itself, as well as around animal welfare issues, and in particular, canned hunting. Outrage and anger are understandable responses. As my friend Ruth Sorenson-Prokosh said on her Facebook page: “There is outrage over this for good reason. Can we value all animal life and rethink how we hunt/kill/trap/eat and use animals for entertainment?”
This being said, there is also a more sinister response taking place. As can be seen when reading many of the responses to various media articles about Cecil, there is also hate being expressed which is causing division, as people voice their anger at the perpetrators.
There is a good deal in this mud slinging that is not so becoming, such as death threats to the perpetrators and threats to do the same to them as was done to Cecil. This of course is not helpful, but only feeds the devil’s ploy. So I for one am praying that as Christians and animal advocates, we could refrain from climbing aboard this particular band wagon.
Instead, we can put on the love of Christ and fight this particular kind of evil in the image of Christ’s character. We will only make things worse for the animal welfare movement (as those that use hate will do). We will make things worse for the feeble attempts that do exist of Christian animal welfare outreach; for the animals; and of course, we won’t be making much of an impression on those looking to us to represent the coming Kingdom of God, if we do not refrain from this particular sort of response.
We can find ways to speak out in love. We can pray for the whole affair, including the perpetrators. We can (and should) refrain from judgment. We can remind ourselves that our battle is not against “flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12), looking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance on what response is best for each of us. We can remember that Christ died for all of us and there is not one of us that does not fall short of the glory – the character – of Christ (Romans 3:23).
We can also do something else. We can know that this is an opportunity for animal wefarists everywhere to turn this into something good for the animal kingdom as a whole. This is especially an opportunity for Christians to make this a Kingdom moment. We can use this opportunity to educate others in a loving fashion about the issues plaguing the animal kingdom by mankind’s own hands, especially in our churches as congregations everywhere wrestle, also, with what has happened to Cecil. We can remind people lovingly that our faith does indeed inform us that part of our responsibility as those created in God’s image is to care for the animal kingdom.
There is something else that can happen, and let’s pray that it doesn’t. This can become the opportunity for Satan. Satan wishes this for evil. But God promises he will turn what was meant for evil into something good and something Kingdom-like (Romans 8:28). God is relying upon us to do the same. When animal activists act out of hate, it only feeds the devil’s subterfuge. And this is what the powers and principalities that are at this present time the princes of this world are hoping for.
Below are a couple links to some well written short articles written about Cecil and the deeper issues surrounding his death:
Note: Regarding the last article: It seems to speak negatively of petition signing. Unny Nambudiripad, Director of Compassionate Action For Animals once told me when asked if signing petitions is effective, “My short answer is yes, I think that online petitions are effective…phone calls are much more powerful…so is going to meet with people in person, hand written letters, and many other actions. Like any organizing effort, everything we do hopefully (1) directly impacts our goals and (2) helps build our power. In the case of petitions, showing that we have some support to the targeted institution helps to meet goal 1. Getting email addresses of people who may do other things: volunteer, donate, make phone calls helps to meet goal 2.” He recommended the book to me, Organizing for Social Change, in case the reader wants to know more about this particular subject.
Christianity and Advocating for Animals
A couple weeks ago, Unny Nambudiripad, Director of Compassionate Action For Animals, invited Ruth Sorenson-Prokosh, Pastor at St Timothy’s Lutheran Church in St Paul, Minnesota, USA, and myself, to an interview about faith and animal advocacy. It was such an honor and pleasure to do! Thank you again, Unny!
The podcast turned out beautifully! We are all hoping that it will speak loudly to many about animals and faith, and how the Bible does inform us to care for the animal kingdom.
Listen and enjoy, and please share widely with others! Thank you!
Thanks for reading and following our blog! We hope you will share it with others, too. Blessings ~ Kathy