Are Animals People, Too?

I’ve shared before on BreakPoint my concern over the animal rights movement and our infatuation with pets. Whether it’s “pet-ernity leave” for employees with young puppies, or people demanding human rights for pregnant pigs, there’s something dramatically wrong when people place animals on a par with humans.

The most recent example of this comes from the Rev. Tom Eggebeen, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. He has begun a church service where congregants are invited to bring their pets to church with them. Not only are the pets allowed in the church, but the pets receive special blessings while the owners enjoy pet-centric services.

Now you might ask, “What’s so wrong with this?”

Well, the question is at what point does our accommodation actually distract from gathering to worship the holy and transcendent God? At what point does our very accommodation become a distraction from people actually hearing the Gospel?

The Washington Times reports that the Rev. Eggebeen hopes to “attract new worshippers who are as crazy about God as they are about their four-legged friends.” Funny, I thought the Bible was rather specific on God having the first place in our heart’s affections.

This emphasis on self-satisfaction and personal joy is the product of a falsified gospel. Some pastors are afraid that the real message of the Gospel will drive away the nodding regulars. Though this is a sad reality, it doesn’t change the truth, or the pastor’s requirement to preach it accurately.

I recently received a note from a high school teacher. Each year he poses an ethical question to his students. This year his question was simple: What if your house were on fire and you could save either your household pet or an electrician who was trapped inside? In past years, the teacher’s students have been divided pretty evenly on this question. This year, to his astonishment-and mine-90 percent of the students said they would save the pet.

What an indictment on the value our culture places on human life!

Similarly, earlier this year President Obama appointed Cass Sunstein as administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. It turns out that Cass Sunstein believes animals should be afforded the same rights as humans. (I guess he’d be one of the 90 percent in that schoolroom voting to save the family pet.) In fact, Sunstein believes that animals should be given human legal counsel and the ability to sue their human counterparts.

It would seem that Cass Sunstein, and these teens arguing to save the family pet, are all suffering from the same delusion. They believe that animals have equal footing with human beings.

Now, love for pets is one thing, but putting them on the same moral footing as humans is incredibly dangerous. Never forget that humans, and humans alone, were created in the image of God.

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  • LarryW2LJ

    Great article.

    I love my cat and my dog. One day, when they die, I am going to be seriously heartbroken; as I have already experienced when my first dog was killed by an automobile.

    BUT, they are animals; not on par with human beings. God created US in his own image and gave us souls – that’s what set us apart.

    I have no idea what happens to our beloved pets when they die. Since they don’t have souls, one might be tempted to think that they simply cease to exist. That’s not for me to worry about – I trust in the fact that God has a plan and has this all figured out already. And hopefully someday, if I am fortunate enough to enter the Pearly Gates, that I might see my pets again.

    But again, I am more worried about living a good and holy life and about actually getting to the Destination than I am about whom or what I will see when I get There.