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‘Imago Dei’ or ‘Imago Diabolus’?: Christian Southern Baptists posted a video opposing animal cruelty — and then profusely apologized for it

Using the binary, as done in the video, of 'human animals' and 'nonhuman animals' can strike Christians as subversive to a theological anthropology grounded in Scripture.

BERNY BELVEDERE: ‘The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission [ERLC]… posted a video online about the ethical treatment of animals. And then hours later, the ERLC took the video down — and its vice president for communications, Daniel Darling, wrote a lengthy apology for posting it. Just what was so wrong about a video endorsing the humane treatment of animals? The speaker is Fordham theology professor Charles Camosy, who last year in The Washington Post called on Christians to become vegans. Camosy told me he wasn’t surprised that the video was taken down. After all, for many Christians, the suggestion that their eating habits impose great harms on other beings takes them to a “deeply uncomfortable place”…

But there’s more to the ERLC’s position than simply finding it hard to give up meat-eating. There’s a crucial theological doctrine… James N. Anderson, a professor of theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, explained it this way: “On a biblical view, there’s a categorical — an essential — distinction between humans and animals grounded in the idea of the image of God, which speaks to the uniqueness and sacredness of human life as opposed to any other form of life.”

In the video, Camosy subsumes animal welfare under the umbrella of antiabortion concerns, traditionally the exclusive province of life issues of a human sort — a grave error in the eyes of some evangelicals… Using the binary — as Camosy does in the video — of “human animals” and “nonhuman animals” can strike Christians as subversive to a theological anthropology grounded in Scripture. But the distinction between creatures who feel pain and creatures who don’t does not include a claim suggesting their metaphysical equality. Thus, Christians should have no problem using it as a framework for moral action”. SOURCE…

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