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I am confused by the recent letter from Jezzeree Lott, who expressed being "absolutely offended" because Kelly Reagan stated concerns over animal cruelty issues, and that Reagan specifically asked pastors to teach against animal cruelty in their churches. I do not understand how a Christian can be offended by Reagan’s request.
It seems obvious to me that the Bible is filled with references for God’s respect for life, animal as well as human. For starters, Genesis states that God created the heavens and the Earth, as well as the animal life upon the earth. Noah certainly went to a great deal of effort to build the ark large enough to carry the load God demanded of him; some of every living creature.
And from shortly after the fall of man, animals were offered to God as a sacrifice to atone for human sins. If God did not value animal life, he would not accept the life of an animal as atonement; after all, the stores at which I shop do not allow me to use play money to make purchases.
In fact, the rites of sacrifice so specifically detailed in Leviticus were a prelude to the sacrifice of the lamb of God, Jesus, who informed his followers that our father sees the fall of every sparrow.
And lest you think the Bible does not directly address the issue of animal cruelty, that issue is indeed addressed. A story on the lessons of God’s will and obeying God can be found in the tale of Balaam and the Angel. This story, itself the 22nd chapter of Numbers, directly addresses the issue of animal cruelty in just such a context.
Last but certainly not least, interview after interview with convicted serial killers have revealed these horribly violent criminals often began their murderous careers by torturing and killing animals. Animal abuse and cruelty is a deadly serious issue regardless of one’s religious beliefs.
As a Christian, I agree with Kelly Reagan. In fact, I will take the idea of pastors preaching the perils of animal cruelty one step further by declaring that a minister who does not teach obedience to God’s laws is a poor shepherd to his flock.