A liberal magazine, The New Republic, describes “the budding personhood movement” as a strategy “that just might work” and admits that “many establishment pro-life groups are moving over into the personhood camp.”
I posted the article on my Facebook profile because I was stunned that The New Republic, which was founded almost a hundred years ago and has always been a socialist magazine, was more than even-handed in its treatment of the Personhood movement. I quoted Dan Becker, the founder of Personhood, who will be with us in Orlando on September 16th, on my Facebook profile. Dan Becker was quoted in the as saying that “Personhood is the last human rights battle of the twenty-first century.”
Then I got this foolish response.
I think he forgot about the personhood of animals. Does he think that slaughtering animals is any different from slaughtering newborns? What holy right does any human animal have to kill and slaughter animals and their young just to put a filthy lousy meal on the table? This would be a more sane world if the animals were in charge, don’t you think? – A.K.
I understand that this is mocking, but I’ll answer a fool according to his folly once because I think it does illustrate a point for those willing to consider the goodness of God’s Law.
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest you also be like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest he be wise in his own eyes (Proverbs 26:4,5).
God made human beings in His own image. He made animals for our pleasure and sustenance. The Bible in a couple of places commands us not to be cruel to animals when we slaughter them for food, but God clearly gave the meat of animals to us for our food.
So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed;
For in the image of God
He made man.
And as for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Bring forth abundantly in the earth
And multiply in it” (Genesis 9:1-7).
God’s Law on Cruelty Toward Animals
All of the following are specific “case laws” from the Bible that were meant to be followed literally, but they are also laws that we should meditate on to receive wisdom on having love and respect for God’s creation.
“Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel” (Proverbs 12:10).
Several commandments demonstrate concern for the physical or psychological suffering of animals.
“You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain” (Deut. 25:4).
We may not plow a field using animals of different species, because this would be a hardship to the animals.
“You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together” (Deut. 22:10).
We are required to relieve an animal of its burden, even if we do not like its owner, do not know its owner, or even if it is ownerless.
“If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.” (Ex. 23:5).
“You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fall down along the road, and hide yourself from them; you shall surely help him lift them up again” (Deut. 22:4).
We are not permitted to kill an animal in the same day as its young.
“Whether it is a cow or ewe, do not kill both her and her young on the same day” (Lev. 22:28).
Oddly, three times in the Law, God commanded the following, perhaps because it is thought by scholars that this was also a pagan rite. But it is also a cruel act.
“You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk” (Exodus 23:19;34:26; Deut. 14:21).
We are specifically commanded to send away a mother bird when taking the eggs, because of the psychological distress this would cause the animal. Note that in the following commandment, God says that He will reward us for our kindness to animals.
“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you shall surely let the mother go, and take the young for yourself, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days” (Deut. 22:6-7).
Now here is the obvious question: If God has this regard for animals not endowed with the image of God, then how does He regard unborn Persons who are made in His image?
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