People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has a long history as a provocateur, using protests and publicity stunts to make animal agriculture look bad.
Many, in my opinion, have been in bad taste, but when PETA protested outside of a Mountaire Farms poultry plant in Millsboro, Delaware, last week, it took things too far.
Protesters targeted Mountaire for its creed “to be good stewards of all of the assets that God has entrusted to us,” and even mocked or questioned the sincerity of Mountaire Farms Owner Ron Cameron’s faith.
Coverage of the protest in the Sussex Countian showed protesters holding signs saying “Stop killing, or burn in hell,” and “Jesus wouldn’t run a slaughterhouse.” Some of the protesters were even wearing devil costumes.
To me, this is wrong on so many levels.
Twisting the scripture
I’ve had many good spiritual leaders over the years, but I’ll admit I don’t know my Bible verses as well as I’d like. However, I am familiar enough to believe the protesters are taking the scriptures out of context and manipulating them to suit their own secular cause. There are multiple references in the Bible, including the one that states man is to have dominion over the rest of the animal kingdom. There are also multiple references to eating meat in the Bible, including Jesus himself eating meat.
So we can conclude that PETA’s equating the lives of chickens to the lives of humans doesn’t hold water.
If you don’t believe me, you should check out a book I previously blogged about entitled, “What Would Jesus Really Eat? The Biblical Case for Eating Meat.” That book, edited and co-authored by biblical scholars Wes Jamison and Paul Copan, cites numerous examples as to why it is not a sin to use animals for food.
Concern for their souls?
Society tends to hold people of faith to higher standards of behavior than it does those who are agnostic or atheist.
That is understandable.
But is holding a protest, and trying to humiliate people or the companies they operate the right way to go? If they were truly concerned about the souls of those at Mountaire, I don’t think public mockery is the best option.
We’ve all seen someone who is a Christian behave in a manner that we believe is contrary to the theology, but I’d like to think we wouldn’t point it out in a public spectacle. If you are really concerned about someone, wouldn’t it be better to pull that person aside privately and ask, “do you think what you are doing would be pleasing to Jesus?” In doing so, there would be no passing of judgment, but rather an invitation to self-reflect.
PETA appears to be mocking all Christians
I may be getting pretty close to passing judgment myself, but the offense I take to this protest goes beyond PETA seeming to mock Mountaire and its ownership. It also seems to be mocking all Christians. Why else would they be dressed up as a caricature of the devil?
People take their faith seriously, and it’s a slap in the face to see it portrayed in such a cartoonish manner.
However, I would also take exception if PETA did this to people of other faiths. There are plenty of other companies in the world that specialize in kosher and halal poultry production. So what is to say PETA won’t show up later at one of those facilities mocking those of the Jewish or Islamic faith?
It would seem like this stunt could backfire. I’m sure there are people of all faiths that contribute to PETA, and if I were one of those contributors, I would forgive them as I will myself, but I would also be very inclined to cut them out.