They had a megaphone, held up sloppy handwritten signs and a GoPro camera and were shouting as church members walked by them on the way to the cars after Easter service. From a distance I could not tell what they were protesting about. I wondered if they were atheists are some anti-Christian cult. When I came even with the protesters I learned the cause was even more ridiculous. They were animal rights activists.
One of them called out to my wife, “Who died for you this morning?” Surprised, she gave the answer appropriate for the morning, “Jesus.” The protester clarified his “point", rephrasing the question, “Who did you eat this morning?” It took me a moment to realize that he was telling us that it was not right that animals die for our sustenance. He apparently believed that animals have feelings and desires, just like people do. He didn't know us, did not know if we were carnivorous or vegan, yet he was convinced that we were evildoers in need of nutritional repentance.
He and his colleagues rained down taunts and jeers as people walked by. They were clearly not interested in dialogue. They only wanted to attack us for the wrongness of our thinking.
Among the claims I heard as we passed-
- Animals want to live just like people do.
- Animals want to be with their families too.
- Animals have feelings.
- Eating meat is tantamount to murder.
These claims were repeated over and over, in loud voices and with condescending tones. The message they were trying to proclaim was not the message their audience received. They wanted us to believe that animals have rights and feelings. What we believed was that they were terribly misguided and deceived.
Those who walked by them were Christians, people who hold to the biblical teaching that mankind is unique, that people alone are created in the image and likeness of God. Unlike animals, we alone possess body, soul and spirit. We alone have reason and creativity, we alone will live eternally. We all know that animals are not at all like us.
We also know that the Bible does not advocate for the vegan lifestyle. The Old Testament gives detailed instructions for offering animal sacrifices. The most holy feast in the nation of Israel, the Passover, involves a meal centered around a ceremonially killed, unblemished lamb. Jesus himself participated in the celebration of this feast. These facts did not stop them from condemning us as we walked by.
As I walked away I wondered what it was they were hoping to accomplish by their diatribe. They could not expect that anyone would be persuaded by their angry shouts. Increased volume does not make up for the ignorance of an argument. I suspect their goal was one shared by many political protesters, Facebook commenters and internet trolls. They wanted to feel morally superior. What they did not realize was that they were creating the same feelings in those who walked by.
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