Evangelical Leaders Recognize ‘Every Living Thing’

By on September 30, 2015 with 6 Comments

Today, I was so pleased to participate in a press conference to announce the launch of “Every Living Thing,” a national campaign to engage the Evangelical community on animal protection issues. “Every Living Thing” is built around a statement of principles about animal protection from major Evangelical leaders. The plan is to appeal to Evangelical leaders throughout the nation to sign on to the statement, so that we can develop a consensus among Christians on the need for human responsibility toward animals.

While this campaign is an exciting and new high-water mark for us, it’s not a new thing for our organization. The HSUS has worked with people of faith for 60 years, and in fact, my two predecessors were clerical leaders before they took their turns in leading our esteemed organization. It was about a decade ago that The HSUS established a Faith Outreach Program, and the organization has proven to be a place for persons and institutions of faith to unite in a concern for God’s creatures.

In 2011, at a gathering of national faith leaders hosted by The HSUS, Evangelical leaders noted a distinct hole within the landscape of major denominational statements on animal welfare. There was no Evangelical perspective on animals. Dr. Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a longtime friend of The HSUS, gathered with Mark Rodgers, principal of The Clapham Group and former chief of staff for Senator Rick Santorum, and Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, to draft the statement, “Every Living Thing” as a derivative of their initial conversations.

Four years of Biblical study and reflection produced what was released today as an Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals. The phrase “Every Living Thing” is drawn from a scriptural refrain that acknowledges a mandate from God to care for every living thing. The campaign will include opportunities for congregations, communities, and Christian campuses to attend local events across the country, and if you are a person of faith, I want to ask you today to join the campaign.

It is often noted by faithful animal advocates that Evangelicals were some of the first public voices of concern for humane treatment. Indeed, William Wilberforce’s role in establishing the London-based Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1824 ties Evangelicals to the first organized animal welfare organization, still active today as the Royal Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Over the years, many historical Evangelical leaders have shared this concern, from C.S. Lewis and John Wesley to Reverend Billy Graham and Dr. Russell Moore.

In many ways, the release of today’s Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals can be viewed as a continuation of this important legacy of Christian commitment to the humane treatment of animals. It also comes on the heels of the Pope’s historic visit to the United States, and earlier this year, he had extraordinary things to say about fighting animal cruelty.

In his endorsement message of the “Every Living Thing” statement, Rev. Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention noted, “…we, as Christians, ought to be the most, of all people, opposed to cruelty or mistreatment of animals….We should be the people, because we’re formed and shaped by the Bible, who call the consciences of those around us to care about responsible treatment of animals.”

I am humbled by the work of these Evangelical leaders. And I am so excited about their leadership on this issue.I am hopeful that we will continue to make great strides on behalf of animals as we count people of faith as allies in the protection of every living thing.

Order “Every Living Thing” on Amazon »

Categories
Animal Rescue and Care, Animal Research and Testing, Companion Animals, Equine, Farm Animals, Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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6 Comments

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  1. Sally Palmer says:

    Faith leaders are an important group for humane animal treatment to “go viral” in because these are leaders who make strong commitments that educate and guide others. It is truly good news. When evidence-based education on animal needs and feelings can be provided at an early age to help create a lifelong thoughtful, knowledgeable, compassionate viewpoint, the impact is clear. The power of mindfulness over ignorance is our greatest tool for changing the attitudes, laws, industries, and daily practices that can reduce the suffering of animals and increase their right to joy and peace all beings have.

  2. michelle bombet minch says:

    Hi Wayne…This sounds wonderful and I too was quite pleased with the Pope’s statement. Are you all reaching out to Rabbis as well and bringing in the teachings of Torah?
    Michelle

  3. 😅KIKUE NISHIO says:

    LOVE&PEACE

  4. Melanie Bridgens says:

    We need a revolution on our Christian college campuses. It breaks my heart to see that these students resist so much the concept of protecting ALL of God’s creations. I just pray that God starts breaking our heart for what is breaking His: cruelty to and enslavement of His “least of these…”

  5. Melanie Bridgens says:

    Thank you, Wayne, for bringing this topic into light. This is a wonderful article, and I have shared it with my colleagues at my Christian university.

  6. Carol Vevle says:

    I have lost my trust in the human being. Many stories to tell. Then, I come across people, like you. Advocates to protect whatever needs to be protected. This restores my faith in humanity!! It’s such a shame to have to protect all living beings, from the human being. Saddens my heart, to read such horrid stories. if you need me to sign petitions or make phone calls, I’m your girl.

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