Posted in Christianity and Culture, Church and State

A Preacher’s Perspective on the President

By Weylan Deaver

Much criticism has been leveled at Mr. Obama over his apparent continual conflict with the U.S. Constitution (shouldn’t he be the last person at odds with that document?). Others can articulate valid concerns about our current government’s shortcomings and failures. My perspective is that of a man who stands every Sunday in front of a congregation of the church of Christ to present sermons which, first and foremost, must be in harmony with the Bible. On that basis, I offer these words. Mr. President, in a way, you actually make my job harder. Hypocrisy is never helpful in converting souls to the gospel, and, when it comes to being a Christian, your claim does not square with your conduct. You stand in favor of so many things I am duty bound, based on the Bible, to oppose. Thanks to you, and voices like yours, I have to spend time in the pulpit dealing with matters like homosexuality and abortion. You have done all in your power to bring such morally repugnant themes to the forefront of society in an effort to force their acceptance and protection. Thus, my children, and other young people, must grow up hearing lessons about what’s wrong with “gay marriage,” or the wanton killing of unborn babies, or why two women having sex is sinful. Other subjects would be more pleasant, but you help make unavoidable the vilest of topics. Your moral confusion is inexcusable in light of the clarity with which God’s word addresses the issues. At one time, you tried to make a point that people have not been reading their Bibles. Have you looked in the mirror? Increasingly, thanks to you and your allies, I must preach a message more and more at odds with a culture adrift from any objective standard of behavior. Mr. President, it seems the right to freely practice biblical teaching is not as dear to you as it is to others. That is plain from your effort to force people to fund what goes against their religious convictions, all in the name of “health care” (e.g. contraceptives, abortifacients). Surely, this fosters a growing disrespect for the office you hold and the laws of our land, making honest citizens feel like they–by no bad behavior of theirs–may still be made into criminals for refusing to violate their own conscience. You may think the pulpit needs to stay out of politics, but in fact, Mr. President, when you venture into moral issues addressed in the Bible, you have strayed from politics onto my turf. We were both born in the 1960’s, but who could have imagined we would see our country entertaining debate on whether men should marry men, and whether the unborn should have a right not to be killed? Even were I to agree with you on every other policy, I could not support you, based solely on moral grounds. I regret we are so opposed, and will pray your influence is minimal. You are my president, but greater allegiance I owe to my King.

Posted in Animal Rights, Christianity and Culture

What the Bible Says About Animals

“For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine” (Psalm 50:10-11, ESV). Though every right perspective on creation begins with the Creator, we live in a strange world where views are skewed and confusion reigns in the minds of well-meaning people who have abandoned God’s word and embraced beliefs and causes contrary to it. Money, energy, and ink are spent advocating “animal rights.” What is the Bible’s perspective on animals?

First, animals are for man’s COMMANDING. All the way back to the beginning, God gave a mandate to mankind to subdue and dominate the earth, including its animal inhabitants (Gen. 1:28). It was never repealed, has not expired, and was not instituted with a sunset provision. God did not say to put animals on a pedestal. He did not task man with preserving, at all cost, every species or sub-species of every animal. Rather, God told man to launch out, explore and command the creation entrusted to him. Man has been doing it ever since.

Second, animals are for man’s CLOTHING. The very first articles of clothing fashioned from animal hides were made by God himself to cover Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). There is no better precedent than that. Figuratively speaking of his people as a young bride, God talks of clothing her “with fine leather” (Eze. 16:10). John wore a garment of camel hair, as well as a leather belt (Mark 1:6). Clearly, God gave people the right to wear hides, wool, fur, or hair from animals.

Third, animals are for man’s CONSUMPTION. God stated it plainly, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you” (Gen. 9:3). While vegetarianism is an option (cf. 1 Cor. 8:13), no one has the right to insist that meat-eating is wrong (see also Acts 10:10-13; 1 Cor. 10:25).

Fourth, animals are for man’s COMMERCE. As Jesus asked, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” (Matt. 10:29). Having dominion over animals certainly includes the domestication of livestock. If God intended animals to be un-eaten, un-worn, un-owned, unused, then he would have told man to simply leave them all untouched and in the wild. But that is precisely the opposite of God’s directive. Man does have the right to buy, sell and trade animals for his own use and profit.

Fifth, animals are for man’s COMPANIONSHIP. Once a Gentile mother begged Jesus to heal her daughter (Mark 7:26-28). He told her it was not right to give dogs food that belonged to children. The woman replied that “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Obviously, any dogs under a table where children were eating would be tame. There is no sin in owning a pet dog, cat, rabbit, snake, etc. One parable even spoke of a man so fond of his pet sheep that it lived with his children, drank from his cup, and was “like a daughter to him” (2 Sam. 12:3).

Sixth, animals are for man’s CONSIDERATION. After all, how a man treats an animal does say something about the man. Moses’ law stipulated, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain” (Deut. 25:4; cf. also Ex. 23:4-5). Allowing a work animal to eat a little of his work is simply a kind consideration. Interestingly, that verse is twice quoted in the New Testament (1 Cor. 9:9; 1 Tim. 5:18). Solomon wrote, “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel” (Prov. 12:10). A righteous heart is not a cruel heart. Using animals in God-approved ways does not make a man cruel. Even medical experiments for the good of people, which carry out trials on animals, are not done from a motive of cruelty. Nor is sport fishing or sport hunting done from a motive of cruelty. But animals are not people, and people are supposed to know they are not animals.

With rights come obligations. Animals have no obligations; they live by instinct, exactly as God made them to do. Thus, animals have no rights. Men have both rights and obligations, and some of those rights and obligations have to do with animals. As people created in God’s own image (Gen. 1:27), there is a tremendous qualitative difference between us and any animals. As Jesus put it, “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:31).