Friday, April 18, 2008

Religion and Animal Rights

Activists for animals are finding a receptive audience in the faith community, including on the religious right.

By Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer

She spent years as an outspoken antiabortion activist, and that cause remains dear to her. But these days, Karen Swallow Prior has a new passion: animal welfare.

She wasn't sure, at first, that advocating for God's four-legged creatures would go over well on the campus of Liberty University, a fundamentalist Baptist institution founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Among the Liberty faculty -- and conservative evangelicals in general -- the animal-rights movement is often disdained as a secular, liberal cause.

But activists have been working with increasing intensity to shed that image. They're lecturing in Quaker meetinghouses and Episcopal churches, setting up websites that post Scripture alongside recipes for vegan soup -- and using biblical language to promote political initiatives, such as laws mandating bigger cages for pregnant pigs. Read More

More religions are starting to take a more vocal stand in the animal rights debate. While you would expect that most religions would be concerned about the welfare of animals, giving them rights is a whole different ball of wax. The initiative in California is going to have several religious groups weighing in with their opinions.

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