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“Woe unto the hunters for they shall be hunted. Lo, every creature which God hath made hath its end and purpose.” — The Nazarene Way

Peace, joy and good will to men. Massive suffering, abuse and killing to animals.

This is Christmas Day, honoring the birth of God’s son, Jesus, born in a stable and laid in a manger. “And there were in the same cave an ox and a horse and an ass, and a sheep, and beneath the manger was a cat with her little ones, and there were doves also overhead, and each had its mate after its kind, the male with the female.”

The meek shall inherit the Earth. Jesus was born into the humble home of animals, and it was from their feed trough that he first viewed the world. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to suffer the persecution of men and be crucified. Fellow animal consciousness was good preparation for this journey and ultimate crucifixion.

Many biblical scholars agree that the Garden of Eden was vegan and a place of harmony with all God’s creation. It is only after Adam and Eve’s fall that the respectful relationship with animals was broken. Humans have been on a murderous power trip of domination over God’s creation ever since.

I gave up on Christianity decades ago precisely because of religious complicity with violence to animals. Churches are losing young people who recognize this betrayal of God’s most innocent. This week, a column in a New Jersey newspaper began, “With all the reports of bear and deer killing in the newspapers lately, I’d like to know why members of the clergy and the religious community aren’t speaking out against animal cruelty.”

Yes, why is the church so silent and blind to man’s long-term infliction of massive suffering? God did command, “Thou shalt not kill.”

The church has become a profitable feel-good business of social gathering, enabling people to continue their cruellest habits of destruction of God’s creatures and our Earth. The silence of the church betrays God’s intention for man to protect and honor his creation and makes a mockery of God’s love. “For the whole earth is filled with dark places of cruelty, with pain and sorrow, by the selfishness and ignorance of man,” according to the Gospel of the Nazarenes. That Gospel also states, “It has been written, Thou shalt not kill, but I say to you, if any hate and desire to slay, they have broken the law. If they cause hurt or torment to any creature, they are guilty.”

Rick Dunkerly observes that there are four hunters mentioned in the Bible: three in Genesis and one in Revelation. Hunters do not fare well. Genesis 10:8-9 brings forth Nimrod, founder of the Babylonian Empire that opposes God throughout Scripture and is destroyed in the Book of Revelation. The second hunter is Ishmael, Abraham’s son by Hagar. The third hunter, Esau, is equated with a “profane person” and models a person without faith in God, Hebrews 12:16. The fourth hunter is found in Revelation 6:2, the rider of the white horse with the hunting bow. Scholars have also identified him as the anti-Christ. Two of the hunters model God’s adversary and two model living life without God. Both Psalms and Proverbs frequently identify hunting with the hunter of souls, Satan. His devices are often called “traps” and “snares,” his victims prey. Hunting is seen as premeditated killing, harm, destruction, and all these things are ramifications of the fall.

In Scripture, the contrast to the hunter is the shepherd, the man who gently tends his animals and knows them fully. Beginning with the 23rd Psalm, God is identified as the “good shepherd,” often pictured cradling the lamb. Jesus is known as the Lamb of God.

Isaiah 66:3 says: “He who slaughters an ox is like him who kills a man.”

The Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter 17, Verse 166 is even more explicit about the fate of harming animals: “Cow-killers and cow-eaters are condemned to rot in hell for as many thousands of years as there are for each hair on the body of every cow they eat from.”

Religious leaders are in tacit agreement with the recreational planned cruelty and outright sadism perpetrated on our innocent wildlife by corrupt state and federal agencies. If they wish the church to be relevant, they must address this shameful death culture.

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God is love for all of his creation. Man and his church have forsaken that love.

Sign a petition against slaughtering bears.

Jan. 9 column: The role of Wisconsin media in denying democracy to wildlife lovers

Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife.