© The HSUS/Riley
At the National Cathedral’s Sunday Forum.
Last Sunday, I was the Forum guest at Washington’s most remarkable church—the awe-inspiring National Cathedral. And yesterday, I was the Forum guest at another marvel of the Episcopal church—San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. I was privileged to have a public discussion about animal issues, and The HSUS’s All Creatures Great and Small campaign, with Dean Alan Jones.
The occasion for both Forum appearances was the Feast Day of Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals who in the 11th century was renowned for singing to the birds and who, along with Saint Anthony the Abbot, set the church’s standards in the realm of creation care and careful stewardship of animals and nature.
After yesterday’s Forum discussion ended, I attended the Sunday service, which was not the typical church assembly. In addition to the 500 people in attendance, there were perhaps about 250 dogs. Their caretakers brought them there for a blessing, and they seemed on their best behavior, with just an occasional bark echoing off the walls of the nave.
The HSUS’s Animals and Religion campaign is not inventing a faith-based concern for animals. We are simply reminding clergy and other religious-minded people of their own strong traditions relating to the kind treatment of animals. We are revivifying these principles.
Religious observance prompts us to think about the hereafter, but it also reminds us of our responsibilities to others in the here and now. A kind and compassionate approach to all of God’s creatures is the right moral position, and it’s consistent with the teachings of all the world’s major religions.