Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute and host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, reflects on the rage of the organization known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This time over the World Series because baseball pitchers warm up in what is called the “bullpen,” a term most insensitive to cattle. PETA suggests “Arm Barn.” As ridiculous as that may seem, it raises the question of what organizations like PETA are up to in the first place. Ultimately, they seek to elevate animals to the status of human beings—and ascribe to animals the personhood reserved for a child. Some, such as bioethicist Peter Singer, go so far as to elevate chimpanzees above disabled children. Wrongheaded, ridiculous, and utterly horrifying. In reality, human beings are created in the image of God, which ensures that a Down Syndrome child is afforded the same dignity given to a professor like Singer. While we may eat lamb as our Lord did during Passover celebrations, we must never treat lambs in a way that dishonors their Creator. A primary precept of biblical theology is that animals occupy a special role in the hierarchy of creation. While we must never supplant human exceptionalism for animal equality, we are nonetheless called to the ethical treatment of animals.
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