I recently found out about the Humane Society of the US's "Faith
Outreach Program," which you can read more about on their website:
http://www.humanesociety.org/about/departments/faith/

At first, I had a negative reaction to this sort of thing. It seemed like
the HSUS was supporting situations where Christians would turn animal
events into opportunities for proselytizing--e.g., a church sponsors a
spay/neuter day for low-income folks and then hands out Bibles, talks to
them about Jesus, etc. when they show up with their pets. Were that the
case, I would have some serious opposition to it and was getting all
riled up to fire off a letter to the HSUS.

Luckily, before whipping out my rhetorical sword, I did some more research. What the
HSUS is doing instead of the pro-evangelizing scenario is to reach out
to faith organizations and make them aware of how animal stewardship and
humane behavior is a religious duty, and helping them to find ways to
take up that duty in order to help animals.

While, obviously, I disagree with the foundational beliefs of the groups in question, I do
not think that the HSUS is supporting religion or helping it to promote
itself. It would be like reaching out to a major corporation or any
other group and educating it about 1) the need for ethical treatment of
animals, and 2) effective ways to practice humane values.

I would be interested to hear what some of you all think, though, as there
surely is a fine line here between reaching out to and actually
supporting religion in the name of animal welfare.

Tags: animals, humane, religion, society

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