Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Friday, May 04, 2007

    Animal Rights: Another Front Within the Battle

    What a slippery slope when one leaves the foundation, and where it will stop, who knows?

    Readers need to be aware of what's taking place within the animal rights movement. My suspicion is that most people are like me when first hearing these stories and think of animal welfare without recognizing the difference between animal rights and animal welfare, and not only what's being proposed and litigated under "animal rights", but what foundation it comes from, as well as the effects this movement could bring about. This much is true though, the Christian community better not be naive, uninterested and uninvolved, but better speak out and take action, or else we'll find ourselves having to fight to reverse bad legislation, just as we've had to do with Roe vs. Wade.

    A FoxNews story (promoted under "Rights Fight" with a picture of a gorilla stating "Chimps are People Too!", entitled: Austrians Group Wants Chimpanzee Granted Basic Rights) drew my attention to this subject again. This is the second story involving the designation of animals as humans on the national news in a week (actually eight days, see my PETA GONE WILD post).

    While I do not consider this a "soapbox" issue of mine, it is one that Christians need to pay attention to.

    In brief,
    1. There's a lot more to Animal Rights than Animal Welfare. Christians need to be aware of this. Wikipedia provides good skimming material regarding the history, development, etc., of animal rights under Animal Rights.

    2. Lines have been blurred (redefined) between people and animals (by philosophers, evolutionists, etc.) The blurring of these lines not only is responsible for the debate but also for confusion within the debate. (Rather than the distinction between humans and animals, debate is cast using terminology of distinction between human and non-human animals... which presupposes humans to be animals.

    (Note: even if one defines an animal as "any living organism", this usage is employed by many to blur the issue, in promotion of an agenda opposed to scriptural teaching)

    3. In the battle, the common strategies found elsewhere are being used. For example, in the same way that in the debate over homosexuality, homosexuality is not considered alone or apart from hate speech, but is grouped in along with non moral issues like race, gender, nationality, religion, etc.; the same type grouping (or combining of issues, and in effect affecting a greater agenda either under the name of or in speaking to a smaller agenda) is being used by animal rights activists. In the present article, it's not the issue of whether a gorilla is a person or not that's under primary consideration, but this issue is mixed in with whether or not a specific gorilla possesses a certain need and whether or not it is entitled to certain legal rights. Here's the point, regardless of the issue of whether gorillas simply need legal protection, or whether the law designates certain rights to a gorilla, the strategy seeks to confuse the two - the issue of whether a gorilla is a person ...with the issue of whether a gorilla (animal) is entitled to any rights under the law. In effect, it seeks to grant (or acknowledge) personhood to a gorilla in order that it may obtain a legal right presently reserved for humans.
    (I'm not sure if there's a term for this, but I consider it "pork barrel legislation/designation; which is NOT the best way define truth or set precedent) (BTW, it would interesting to see how this gorilla chooses it's guardian, the assumption obviously is the gorilla would know what he is doing! LOL!)

    Because many in the world are not skilled at separating issues and understanding the effect that failing to do so has, much is done which is opposed to the truth and gospel. Christians must become better not only at developing this skill, but also better at helping others to do so, and to understand and strategize how best to deal with matters of this nature in the political and judicial realms.

    4. Regarding future effects, issues and decisions like this one and others like it can lead to restrictions on the food that we eat, how we discipline animals and protect our children, whether or not humans with less function or abilities than certains animals even have rights, whether and how farmers use pesticide, whether and to what extent animals can be used for research to help humanity, etc. (Note: there's more at stake than just protecting the welfare of animals from abusive owners!)

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