A Call to Compassion From Our Brothers the Animals

I’ve never had the privilege of meeting Kendra Langdon Juskus in person, but I think of her as a friend. She was the managing editor at Flourish, where I did some of my first-ever writing for an audience wider than my immediate family. Kendra’s wisdom and guidance helped me refine my writing and to find the courage to submit articles (and book proposals!) to various magazines and publishers. Thank you, Kendra! I’m so very grateful.

Kendra and her husband, Ryan, at the awards dinner

Kendra recently won an important award from the Humane Society of the United States for an article she wrote for ESA’s Prism magazine entitled “A Call to Compassion From Our Brothers the Animals.” Here is an excerpt:

Although animal welfare is hardly a common sermon topic today, Christians throughout the centuries have taken these Biblical foundations for animal welfare concern seriously, often considering mercy toward animals indicative of submission to God’s will over our own and strong Christian character.

In the early centuries of Christianity, Basil of Caesarea and Irenaeus of Lyons encouraged mercy toward animals, Irenaeus writing, “These creatures minister to our needs every day: without them we could not live; and through them the human race greatly offends the Creator.” Francis of Assisi, the Catholic patron saint of animals, is renowned for his gentleness toward animals and his efforts to sometimes communicate with them and encourage them to worship God.

Even such unlikely figures as John Wesley and John Calvin insisted on the dignity of God’s creatures, the animals, as did the William Wilberforce, who passed a Parliamentary bill against bull-baiting. I love how Kendra shows that compassion for animals has deep roots in Christian and scriptural ethics.

Kendra points out that animal welfare is everyone’s business–

In one important respect, insisting that animals not be beaten, broken, and abandoned at our whim is distinct from other worthy calls to compassion.

“The one unique aspect of animal welfare,” says Rodgers, “is . . . that it touches most Americans.”

Pet ownership crosses racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic lines. Even those of us who don’t own pets still eat, and most of us eat meat.

But all of us can eat less meat; we can also eat better meat, refuse to buy fur, teach our children to respect animals, and help low-income community members (who sometimes go without food in order to feed their pets) care for the animals they love.

Read all of Kendra’s article here!

3 thoughts on “A Call to Compassion From Our Brothers the Animals

  1. Thank you, Rachel, for this very kind recognition. Having the opportunity to write that piece was a tremendous experience–by turns heart-wrenching and inspiring as I learned so much about animal cruelty and the people who give mistreated animals so much mercy. Receiving the award was truly a surprising and wonderful honor.

    The photo of your son with the chicken, by the way, is beyond adorable!

    Kendra

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