Guest / Limited Access /

Five years ago I warned in this space about an aggressive animal-rights movement that seeks to blur the distinction between animals and humans. Since then it has gained steam, even unwittingly drawing some Christians into its orbit.

I know of a Bible study group in Los Angeles that recently laid hands on a sick dog, praying God would heal her—and if not, receive her into heaven. A Christian veterinarian administers healing sessions for patients. And dozens of websites offer biblical "proof" that animals are resurrected, as if Christ's atonement somehow included them.

Well-meaning evangelical authors write of their hopes that God will admit their beloved dogs into heaven: at Amazon.com, the list of books maintaining that pets are heaven-bound is long and furry. (My personal favorite: Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates, "a beautifully written book from a Christian perspective about our beloved pets" going to heaven.)

Are these merely examples of overzealous animal lovers—or signs of the latest "rights" campaign gaining steam?

Of course, Christians have a specific command to care for the creation. Genesis records that God, after forming every living creature and calling this "good," entrusts to Adam the task of ruling over them in a responsible way. William Wilberforce, demonstrating this duty, founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1824. As such, we should delight in the unique joy that animals bring, and support the work of local shelters that care for abused and abandoned animals.

But that's not what we're witnessing here. These are signs of Christians weakening their best defense against activists on what constitutes the distinctiveness of humans.

Christianity teaches that humans are unique in all ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Charles Colson
Charles Colson was the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, an outreach to convicts, victims of crime, and justice officers. Colson, who converted to Christianity before he was indicted on Watergate-related charges, became one of evangelicalism's most influential voices. His books included Born Again and How Now Shall We Live? A Christianity Today columnist since 1985, Colson died in 2012.
Previous Charles Colson Columns:
Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Q&A: Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka
The vice president of Kenya since January, Musyoka ran for the presidency unsuccessfully in 2007.
RecommendedWhat You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’
What You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’
A more biblically accurate understanding of Jesus' words in Matthew 25.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickA Journey as Old as Humanity Itself
A Journey as Old as Humanity Itself
What’s behind our timeless fascination with religious pilgrimage?
Christianity Today
Keeping Pets in Their Place
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.