With all the various reactions lately to the killing of Cecil the Lion (not pictured above), it seems that some have judged Christians who support animal rights and lumped them into a category with those who support abortion. But a true Christian, one who is truly guided by and growing in the Holy Spirit, will be pro-active against all kinds of evil acts, whether it be abortion, animal cruelty, attacks against traditional marriage, and so on, realizing that anything that attacks God’s creation cruelly or twists it sadistically is wrong. After all, animals were created by God, too, and God declared this creation of His good:
Genesis 1:25: And God made the wild beasts of the earth according to their kind, and cattle according to their kind, and all the reptiles of the earth according to their kind, and God saw that they were good.
Some have mentioned that the animal killed was a lion and of course lions will attack and kill humans. However, for one to go into that animal’s territory and kill it, paying a large sum of money to do so (money that could have been used to feed many many hungry people, provide shelter, etc), just to have a trophy is wrong and completely evil. They have destroyed God’s creation, not in self defense or for food, but for the sport of it. This is not destroying a human life, like abortion does, but it is killing something God created for pleasure which is a kind of evil in itself and Christians should take a stance against it. So below we thought it would be good to post some quotes from the Bible, the Church Fathers and Saints, as well as others on how one should treat animals:
In the Bible:
A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast. —Proverbs 12:10
Also to them is the event of the sons of men, and the event of the brute; one event befalls them. As is the death of the one, so also the death of the other; and there is one breath to all; and what has the man more than the brute? Nothing; for all is vanity. —Ecclesiastes 3:19
The Book of Enoch:
God will not judge a single animal because of man, but will judge the souls of men according to how they treat their animals in this world; for men have a special place.
And as every soul of man is numbered, similarly, animals will not perish, nor all spirits of animals which God created, until the great judgement, and they will accuse man, if he treated them cruelly.
Whoever defiles animals defiles his own soul.
All that is given to you for food, bind it by the four feet, to make good the cure, to cure the soul. But whoever kills an animal without wounds (for example for the sport of it instead of to eat or to protect oneself), kills his own soul and defiles his own flesh.
And he who injures any animal whatsoever, in secret, it is an evil practice, and he defiles his own soul.
The Church Fathers:
Cattle and wild beasts pray, and bend their knees, and in coming forth from their stalls and lairs look up to heaven. Moreover the birds taking flight lift themselves up to heaven and instead of hands, spread out the cross of their wings, while saying something which may be supposed to be a prayer. —Tertullian
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Oh, God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals to whom Thou gavest the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man and ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth which should have gone up to Thee in song, has been a groan of travail. May we realize that they live not for us alone but for themselves and for Thee and that they love the sweetness of life. —St. Basil the Great
The humble man approaches wild animals, and the moment they catch sight of him their ferocity is tamed. They come up and cling to him as their Master, wagging their tails and licking his hands and feet. They scent as coming from him the same fragrance that came from Adam before the transgression, the time when they were gathered together before him and he gave them names in Paradise. This scent was taken away from us, but Christ has renewed it and given it back to us at his coming. It is this which has sweetened the fragrance of humanity. —St Isaac of Syria
We are all creatures of one family. —St. Francis of Assisi
Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission–to be of service to them whenever they require it… If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.—St. Francis of Assisi
Ministers and others:
(The saint’s) consideration extends even to animals and to things, because in every
creature he sees a gift of God’s love, and does not wish to wound that love by
treating His gifts with negligence or indifference. — Fr Dimitru Staniloae (Prayer and Holiness)
If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalist for the same reasons. —C. S. Lewis
I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being. —Abraham Lincoln
How we treat God’s creation reflects our love for God and respect for Him. Anyone who divides wrongs and does not take a stance against all evil should reconsider where their hearts are in their walk with God and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit in rebuking all evil.