Theology and Social Justice
Welcome to the Warren. I’ve chosen this image because “The Robin’s Nest” was already taken, but also because my 12 years of having house rabbits (bunnehs, as they’re known in bunny circles) have just ended. I’ve learned from the bunnies, just as I and others often learn from animals.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;” Job 12:7
I have been in benign advocacy for many years. I gave many years to efforts on behalf of those who live with a disability. My primary vehicle for this advocacy was Presbyterians for Disability Concerns.* In addition, I’ve been outspoken on issues of sexism, racism, and homophobia.** Currently, I’m participating in the Amos 5:4 Ministry Team of Pittsburgh Presbytery, a group which seeks to educate and transform racism within the presbytery.***
But my passion is the Earth and its inhabitants. Most posts in this blog will have to do with the environment — climate change, species extinction, fossil fuels, etc. I’m involved with Presbyterians for Earth Care’s advocacy committee, and I will promote PEC’s work.**** My perspective will be theological and biblically based.
My particular concern is that the most overlooked aspect of environmental degradation is the effect of industrialized animal farming – CAFOs or factory farming. Of course, the most obvious issue that comes to mind is the brutality that these farmed animals endure, because they’re viewed as commodities, not living beings. But once our compassion leads us to investigate factory farms, we find that
- they contribute significantly to water, air, and soil pollution, and
- their operation intersects with issues of immigration, politics, the economics of small family farmers, and so forth.
So, I invite you to join me in digging underneath the surface of animal welfare concerns and simplistic solutions to our environmental crisis.
** Homophobia is, in my opinion, a misnomer. It is usually applied to those who are prejudiced, judgemental and/or hateful toward the LGBTQ community. A phobia, in contrast, is defined in Wikipedia as “In clinical psychology, a phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational. In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely, the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities. (Bourne, Edmund J. (2011). The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook 5th ed. New Harbinger Publications. pp. 50–51)
*** The mission of Amos 5:24 is to 1) lead the Presbytery into a greater understanding of the effects of racism; 2) to facilitate repentance for our corporate complicity in systemic injustice; and 3) set in motion training, dialogue, and active engagement in church and community events. See our Facebook page: Amos 5:24 Ministry Team. (But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. – Amos 5:24, NRSV)