Protestant pastors overwhelmingly agree humanity has a God-given duty to care for animals, a new study shows.
They just don’t mention it much from the pulpit.
In a survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors, sponsored by Every Living Thing, a national campaign for the Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals, LifeWay Research finds a distance between pastors’ beliefs about animal welfare and their church activities.
Two-thirds of pastors never preach about the treatment of animals or haven’t brought it up for more than a year. More than 4 in 5 say their churches aren’t involved in animal welfare issues in the community.
Nevertheless, 89 percent of Protestant pastors say Christians have a responsibility to speak out against animal cruelty.
“The disparity between pastors’ beliefs and church sermons and actions is worth exploring — there’s a noteworthy gap,” said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research.
Responsible care for animals is rooted in the Bible, 94 percent of Protestant pastors say. Ninety-five percent believe God’s command for humans to steward all living creatures still applies today.
Only 12 percent think God is indifferent to people’s behavior toward animals.
Some pastors are not certain there’s a connection between caring for animals and caring about human beings. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) see a link, but 24 percent disagree.
Tension also emerges around how the church should respond. Eighty-eight percent of pastors say Christians need to work for protection of animals without neglecting vital human concerns, but only 16 percent say their church personally addresses local animal welfare issues.
Nearly 4 in 10 pastors (39 percent) say they have never addressed the treatment of animals in a sermon.
“Pastors have not said their congregations are disrespectful of animals, but there is little advocacy regarding the mistreatment of animals,” McConnell said.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Lisa Cannon Green