Should Christians be involved with PETA? I hadn't thought much about that until I picked up the current issue of HM: The Hard Music Magazine(it's a magazine for the Christian hard music scene, for those not in the know).
HM has a new feature called Causes. In each issue, a cause is reviewed and readers are asked to find something good in the cause for 60 days, until the next issue comes out. This month's cause is PETA, and a couple of the bands--or band members-- featured in the issue are PETA supporters. Stretch Arm Strong and Emery are two of the bands that come to mind. I'm not sure how I feel about this.
I like animals. I'd never intentionally hurt one, and I don't think there's anything wrong with Christians caring about them. However, PETA carries the idea of caring about animals to a level I feel no Bible- believing Christian can accept. PETA believes that animals are equal to humans, that they have the same intrinsic value; you know, the whole " a rat is a pig is a boy" idea. Consequently, PETA people believe that harming or killing animals, for any reason, is as morally wrong as harming or killing people; and on the other side, NOT harming or killing animals is as compassionate as not harming or killing people. The cornerstone of PETA's philosophy is that kindness to animals is the epitome of morality and compassion. Bible-believing Christians simply can't believe this.
First, the Bible, in the very first chapters of its very first book, clearly establishes Man's superiority over the animals. Man, and Man alone, is created in God's image. Immediately afterward, he's given dominion over the animals. The God of the Bible is no animal rights activist. In fact, He is the first animal killer, killing a beast to make--gasp!--fur clothes for Adam and Eve after they were expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating the apple. It only gets worse for the Christian PETA fan.
While vegetarianism seems to have been the original plan for Man's nourishment, meat is allowed after the Flood. In fact, meat eating was probably going on before the Flood because animal sacrifice was going on before the Flood. Remember the rivarly between Cain and Abel? Cain was jealous because God wouldn't accept his vegetable offering, but did accept Abel's animal sacrifice. Surely, if pre-Flood people killed animals to sacrifice to God, it's logical to assume that they ate them, too. And God didn't have a single problem with it.
Thousands of years later, in the time of Moses, God still hadn't seen the PETA light. In the Mosaic Law, He forbid the Jews to eat certain animals, but not all animals, and He required animal sacrifice to cover their sins. Yes, the Bible does praise kindness to animals here and
there, but it's never the centerpiece of its morality. The Bible is concerned with Man's relationship to God, and with Man's humanity, or lack thereof, toward his fellow Man.
But that's the Old Testament, some Christians will argue. Surely the New Testament is more enlightened and loving. Not so. Whatever PETA activists claim Jesus said about eating meat and the like, the Bible shows He didn't mind it at all. In fact, to get the Jesus they want, PETA folks go to extrabiblical sources which have no authority for the orthodox Christian. The Bible is the Christian's only authority for what Jesus did, said, liked, and disliked; and the Bible never records Him saying or doing anything against eating meat, wearing fur, etc. Indeed, in one of His sermons, Jesus reminds His audience that if God will take care of the birds, He will also take care of them because they are worth more than the birds. Shocking! Jesus actually said people are worth more than animals?! Yep. Get over it.
Some people might have a hard time with this because they've bought into PETA's claim that you must believe in animal rights to be moral. Finding out that Jesus didn't believe in animal rights might seriously shake their faith in Him. These people need to understand that Jesus's morality--the whole Bible's morality--is above PETA's. Think about it. PETA asserts that it's morally wrong to kill animals, even if it's done painlessly, because all life is sacred; yet, how many PETA activists fought for the life of Terry Schiavo? If all life is sacred, shouldn't that "all" include disabled human beings? If it's wrong to painlessly kill animals, shouldn't it also be wrong to kill disabled people, even if it's done painlessly? And what about abortion? Unborn babies are living things. Shouldn't they be protected? PETA activists can't use the "they're not human life" argument to justify abortion because they don't think that life has to be human in order to have value. Their lives revolve around protecting nonhuman life. So, if unborn babies really are subhuman, that's all the more reason why every PETA activist should be pro-life.
Of course, most PETA activists aren't pro-life. In fact, humans are the only life form whose demise doesn't offend them. So Bible-believing Christians should think hard before subscribing to PETA's moral worldview. It's contradictory, it devalues human life in the name of uplifting animal life, and it doesn't make you a good person. Remember, Adolph Hitler was a vegetarian; Jesus wasn't.