Why I’m An Architect of the Statement on Responsible Care for Animals
By Michael Cromartie, Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center
Although many Evangelicals have been involved in the issue of animal welfare for more than 200 years, we have often not stayed true to the focus of including every living thing in our concerns for life and dignity. Navigating this issue isn’t easy — animal welfare often raises concerns where there is certainly room for disagreement. However, one thing that is not open to debate is that as Christian believers we are morally obligated and responsible to act according to Scripture.
The Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals embodies a tangible and concise exposition of verses from both the Old and New Testaments, demonstrating the significant priority that Scripture places on us to be responsible stewards of all of creation, including animals.
Scripture is clear that God carefully designed creation to reflect His glory, and He protects and cares for creatures as an instructive model for our relationship with them as well. As Job declares in Chapter 12:7-10: “Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
How, then, can we as Evangelicals ignore this call from our Creator to responsibly care for animals?
The goal of the Statement and its campaign, Every Living Thing, is to encourage the Evangelical church to become a change agent on this important issue. Most importantly, it seeks to remind us that we are believers in a God that both created and celebrates life.
In 2011, Barrett Duke, Mark Rodgers and I began carefully drafting a document that we hoped would transcend denominational boundaries by agreeing on a common objective: pursuing the good, pleasing and perfect will of God toward every living thing. Today, more than four years later, we are pleased to finally share this Statement with the church and invite fellow believers into a place of productive conversation. Will you join us?
During the next year of national events associated with this campaign, I hope believers will examine what the biblical treatment of all animal’s means in their own life and work. It is our hope that we all will become more compassionate and active stewards of creation. In my own life, this has meant eating less meat and giving up eating hamburgers (not much, but a start!).
What might all of this mean for you and your family? What might this mean for your local congregation and church community? I hope you will join us in signing the Statement. And we hope you will attend or sponsor a local event in your area, and be inspired to lift your voice among your friends and community by confronting any and all cruelty against animals and celebrating the right stewardship of every living thing.
image via thegathering.com