A Gospel for Liberals
Considering the historical     Jesus in light of today’s most controversial social Issues

Jesus Was a Person for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Indigenous peoples throughout world history have largely been panentheistic and animistic, meaning, respectively, they see God in all things, and all things have souls.  The very word, anima, the Greek word for “soul,” is the root of the word “animal.” Animal literally means “soul.” The squirrel is a soul, the bird is a soul, the cat is a soul, the whale is a soul, even the amoeba and the bacterium are a soul.  Hildegard of Bingen, who said, “It is God whom human beings know in every creature,” also understood that, “no creature, whether visible or invisible, lacks a spiritual life.” Injustice against animals is, therefore, a sin against the Holy Spirit, against souls.  As a man of justice, a man of compassion, and a Wisdom teacher, Jesus would not have been able to stomach cruelty to animals, or the cold, callous objectification of God’s magnificent Creation in any of its multifarious forms.


Finally, Jesus would not tolerate today’s meat production practices for the sole reason that they are horrendously and unnecessarily cruel to animals.  In addition to destroying the natural habitat of other creatures for cattle grazing, contributing to the extinction of nearly 130 species each day, this industry is diabolically cruel to most the 20 billion livestock animals it feeds upon. “Blessed are the merciful,” he said, “for they will receive mercy.” Tragically, the meat industry is far from merciful.  It does not, as the proverb suggests, recognize the “needs of its animals.” Its “mercy is cruel.”