Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Christians and Other Animals: Moving the Conversation Forward"

The announcement for “Christians and Other Animals: Moving the Conversation Forward” is an embarassment for its fawning nature and the poor manner in which it was written - to say nothing of the abysmal ignorance it reveals:
  • "This panel wishes to provoke Christians to think about other animals. This is an issue that is a currently [sic] hot topic in academic theology and philosophy, but largely unengaged by our broader culture. Peter Singer—in addition to being the most influential philosopher alive today—was the intellectual heft behind the beginning of the animal rights movement in the 1970s. David Clough is one of the leading voices in defense of animals in the contemporary Christian conversation, and Eric Meier’s research has mined the Christian tradition in ways which turn the current debate about animals on its head. R.R. Reno (in addition to know[sic] the Christian tradition backward and forward) plays the all-important role of ‘sympathetic skeptic’ in our discussion. All participants will be framing their remarks in such a waythat students and non-specialists can engage. It promises to be a lively afternoon!"
Truth be told, this supposedly "hot topic in academic theology and philosophy" features irreconcilable positions:
  • "It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2418).
  • "especially in the Judeo-Christian tradition — less so in the East — we have always seen ourselves as distinct from animals, and imagined that a wide, unbridgeable gulf separates us from them. Humans alone are made in the image of God. Only human beings have an immortal soul.....the language of human rights — rights that we attribute to all human beings but deny to all nonhuman animals — maintains this separation....the vehemence with which this prohibition ["the taboo on sex with animals] continues to be held, its persistence while other non-reproductive sexual acts have become acceptable, suggests that there is another powerful force at work: our desire to differentiate ourselves, erotically and in every other way, from animals" (Peter Singer, Heavy Petting, 2001)
Please note that I have quoted comparatively "tame" sentences from Singer's Heavy Petting.  Were this article better known, it would be unquestionably condemned by a wide cross section of the population.  It is absolutely irresponsible to host the author of such an article! 

Anyone who has bothered to read any of Singer's works knows that this man is unapologetic about his pro-abortion and pro-infanticide positions.  What an insult to the memory of your own "20th Century Doctor of the Church."

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