I about swallowed my tongue when I saw the video. Posted on the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s (ERLC) Vimeo page, a professor of theology at Fordham University named Charles Camosy addressed the question: “What is the Christian’s Responsibility with Respect to Animals?” What he said wasn’t responsible and it wasn’t remotely Christian:
“Well it’s one of those more interesting issues that the pro-life movement doesn’t generally take up. Uh, but I’ve done a little bit of my own work on this. And I think that non-human animals, though obviously not as important as human animals, merit our serious attention. They’re also vulnerable, they’re also voiceless, they’re also pushed to the margins because they are inconvenient, interestingly just like prenatal children are. And there’s a growing number of people who are pro-life, in that they’re anti-abortion, but also pro-life and they want to stand up for the dignity of non-human animals. And that’s a leading edge, a growing edge if you will, of the pro-life movement in 2018.”
No. No it’s not. No it’s not at all. There are seemingly countless issues that rational, Biblical minds have to address in this small paragraph of garbled thought and false equivalency.
First, the phrase “non-human animals” should not be overlooked or allowed to escape rigid scrutiny. The phrase itself presumes that humans are, in the final analysis, nothing more than animals as well. It’s a concept deeply rooted in Darwinian thought and naturalistic philosophy. It is also where mass murderers like Hitler found their home, believing that just like some breeds of dogs are more evolved than others, some races of humans are more evolved than others. If the pure bred German Shepherds can justly eliminate the mongrels, why shouldn’t the pure bred Aryans be allowed to eliminate the servant races?
This is where Christianity offers something far better and more desirable than worldly philosophies of man. It suggests what should be a simple matter of observation: humans are set above mere animals. From the Garden of Eden, God placed humans over all other living things and gave mankind alone the gift of His image. There is nothing remotely Christian about any effort to place humans and animals on the same plane of moral or ethical equivalence.
Second, the excuse that Camosy acknowledged “human animals” are more important than “non-human animals” is a non-starter. Moments after giving lip service to this fact, he reveals he doesn’t really believe it by offering an unthinkable and galling comparison between “innocent animals” and prenatal children.
That statement is so untethered from Biblical principle, so offensive to Biblical truth, that it begs us to press perhaps the most important question of all: how did this video ever get posted to the ERLC’s website in the first place? To his credit, the man ultimately responsible for it appearing, ERLC VP of Communications Daniel Darling, posted a detailed explanation that included this Biblical affirmation:
“We believe what the Bible says about the unique dignity of human life. Only humans are created in the image of God. Only humans were described by Scripture as having been sculpted by God from the dust of the ground and knit together in the womb. Only humans are the objects of Christ’s sacrificial love on the cross.”
You can read Darling’s full explanation as to how this embarrassing video ever made it onto the ERLC’s site and come to your own conclusion about whether it’s reasonable. But here’s the more critical issue: Satan will stop at nothing to undermine sound Biblical theology. He will wrap his half-truths and misrepresentations in the cloak of Christian language and drop a poison pill into the collective consciousness of Christ’s Church if given the opportunity.
And while we might like to think that groups like the ERLC would be on guard against his nefarious tactics, it is obvious they too can succumb to them – not just in this instance but in previous collapses relative to so-called “social justice Christianity. Therefore it’s imperative that we all take seriously our responsibility to test all we hear, and all we see, and all we read against the authority of Scripture alone.