Call To Compassion

Religious Perspectives on Animal Advocacy

Call To Compassion book cover

Call To Compassion

Religious Perspective on Animal Advocacy

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ISBN : 9781590561829
Publisher: Lantern Publishing & Media (March 2011)

It is an important collection, demonstrating not only that concern for the nonhuman isn’t a peripheral and easily neglected aspect of religious and ethical traditions, but also that there are many robust and creative religious and spiritual traditions whose contribution to humane endeavor has been too long neglected.

Stephen Clark, author of The Moral Status of Animals and Animals and Their Moral Standing

Recognizing the importance of these religious movements to the development of the major ethical and philosophical ideas shaping human thought can only give one pause in imagining a present quite different from the global market and technological culture we now inhabit, based as it is on the deaths of approximately 55 billion land animals alone killed annually for food worldwide. This book fills that pause with the knowledge and wisdom we need to move forward in imagining, and acting on, a different present and future based on that original harmony.

Carol Gigliotti, Emily Carr University

In a time such as our own, when religion is commonly used to legitimate war and terror, Call to Compassion importantly gestures to how world religions might variously find common cause in their work for peace between the species. A liberation theology for the animals such as this has never been more necessary.

Richard Kahn, author of Ecopedagogy

Religion has an important role to play in animal rights and this book takes a major step to making the case for a theology of animal liberation. An urgent book for urgent times.

Peter McLaren, Chapman University

Truly a pivotal book that challenges what it means to be ethical. Call to Compassion is a powerful book with an amazing list of outstanding contributors.

Richard White, Sheffield Hallam University

Contributors take mighty steps toward clarifying that the principle of the divine license of human beings to exploit the animate world has always been error.

Steven Wise, founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project.

Call to Compassion asks that we realign belief with practice—including dietary habits. From Indigenous traditions to contemporary Wicca through Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern religions, Call to Compassion visits ancient sacred teachings to explore teachings about kindness and compassion, the interconnected nature of all that exists, and the ethics of a vegan diet. The uncompromising beauty of religious ethics are recalled and renewed in this wide-ranging collection of essays that invite readers to think about how they live in light of their spiritual convictions.

At a time when the animal rights movement has been repeatedly smeared as extremist, or even ‘terrorist,’ this volume shows that, in fact, its core values stem from a long history of nonviolent teachings in all of the world’s major religions.

Will Potter, author of Green Is the New Red

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Synopsis: Call To Compassion

Introduction to Call To Compassion

Call to Compassion

Introduction by Lisa Kemmerer

Across time and around the world, religions have provided human beings with a moral framework that outlines human responsibilities for other creatures, and which inevitably underscore the virtue of compassion. Simultaneously, religions have battled human tendencies such as greed, indifference, cruelty, and selfishness.

Religions are too often twisted, or simply sidelined. Although reli- gions tend to teach generosity and nonviolence, people have grabbed and snatched, squabbled and slaughtered. Although religions tend to teach responsibility and simplicity, people have exploited and plun- dered for profit. Although religions tend to teach social responsibility and compassion, we have shown remarkable selfishness and shame- ful indifference. Religions generally call people from exploitation and greed to compassion and service, teaching us to walk lightly and live gently. Whatever we might wish were true, religions teach peace and kindness. Consequently, few are surprised when people of faith speak out against war, build communities in fragmented populations, or protect the defenseless against injustice. Yet comparatively few people in industrialized nations have focused on the needs of nonhumans; few among those of comparative affluence understand the spiritual importance of choosing a vegan diet.

Factory farming causes acute suffering, prolonged misery, and premature death to billions of nonhuman animals every year (see Appendix). Most of us never see the creatures that we eat, their long eyelashes or shiny beaks, marvelous colors or curious eyes. We never know a cow or a turkey as an individual with preferences, anxiet- ies, and curiosities. Most of us only see a specific “edible” body part wrapped in plastic—and we fail to recognize that body part for what it is. Food labels rarely speak the truth. This, your “food,” is part of someone else’s body.

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The religions of the world offer a universal call to compassion, if only we would listen, if only we would make a sincere commitment to adhere to the core teaching of our religion, if only we would allow our religious convictions to change our hearts and guide our actions.

Introduction to Call to Compassion