PETA Wants Bible to Include Animal Friendly Language

You knew it was coming when the 2011 NIV Bible translation announced that it was steering more towards gender neutral language. PETA, never afraid to garner more media attention by any means necessary, is asking that the NIV refer to animals as “she” or “he” instead of “it.” Sometimes the stupidity of it all just wants to make you slap yourself.

The effort to extend human rights to animals is noble but often misguided. We need to recognize that we want to be humane to animals, but that animals are not human. If animals are to be put on the same level as humans then they would need to show a little more respect such as not shitting on us as they fly overhead or mauling us while hiking or even throwing their poo at us for laughs. They should also have the ability to extend rights to other species instead of finding ingenious ways to “murder” and eat each other. Animals don’t give a damn if you refer to their correct gender as humans are not apt to know which animal is male or female anyways unless we’re referring to something like a male lion versus a female (the mane being the obvious clue). If we dehumanize animals by referring to them as “it” that is appropriate as they are NOT human. I think we’re smart enough to understand how to be humane to nonhumans without having to humanize them.

The Bible is a religious book based on ancient texts (though they are copies of copies) and the translations should reflect that–not political correctness or even modern niceties. Otherwise, this is how we get a Bible that no longer tells us what it said to people throughout history. There will be a knowledge gap between generations of Christians–one generation understanding the Bible has unpleasant references and successive generations who slowly become ignorant of the unpleasantness as the wording is changed to be friendlier and in sync with our modern morals. If there is bigotry, objectionable depictions of violence and rape, references to animal sacrifice and so forth, we do not want to sanitize it.

The CNN article quotes PETA’s vice president for policy, a practicing Roman Catholic named Bruce Friedrich who says, “Language matters. Calling an animal ‘it’ denies them something. They are beloved by God. They glorify God.”

Give me a break. Animals aren’t beloved in the Bible. They’re used to please God through ritual sacrifice. Not to mention God drowning all of them for no good reason in the Great Flood (they didn’t sin, men did). The sheer stupidity of this comment may be a result of the New Testament and not the Old. It is when Jesus says in Matthew, Chapter 6, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Which birds are Jesus referring to? Birds die all the time because they starve, they’re hunted by predators or they fly into a window and break their neck. In regards to predators, if Jesus is feeding these birds it is only to fatten them up for good eatin’ by the other predators he created. It makes you wonder if this is how the birds are thought of by Jesus then how does he really think of us? We’re more valuable then birds destined to be eaten?

How is it that a Catholic can read the Bible and ignore all of the violence done towards animals by God and in the name of God and come to the conclusion that animals are beloved by God? Animals are said not to even have souls–unless Catholics now believe they do? I found this response to that question on Catholic Answers Forums, “All living things have souls, but only angels and humans have spiritual souls. Animal and plant souls are material principles that cease to exist at death. Angels do not die, and human souls survive the death of the body.” If it doesn’t make sense to you then good for you! Because souls that are material defeat the definition of “soul” as far as I’m concerned.

Friedrich also suggests that the Bible promotes vegetarianism? You’ve got to be kidding. I’m sorry, but PETA may have good intentions but they sure attract some dumb ass people. I would love to see Bill Maher, a PETA board member and religious critic, come out and comment on this fellow PETA nut, but he may not even dare on this one.

This is extreme, but there are more moderate efforts to tie conservation and environmentalism into the Bible. This seems to come from Genesis chapter 1 which has been reinterpreted over time to be more about responsibility than man’s dominance: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

That’s all well and good if subdue means to “take care of,” but it still doesn’t mesh with most of the Old Testament. The ritual sacrifices performed throughout are pleasing to God–God likes to see his animals killed. And, I hate to be repetitive, but again, how the hell do you ignore Noah’s Flood and wiping out all of the animals except the pairs that were allowed on the ark?

This is simply one more example of modern morality being forced upon an ancient text. It does not fit.

SIDENOTE: I try to find a balance on animal rights as I ┬ábelieve the term “animal rights” is misleading. Animals do not have the intelligence to demand their rights or even contemplate what they would be. We are placing rights on them that we believe to be humane. There is nothing wrong with being humane, except you have to remember that nature designed us to kill and eat meat. Yes, we are omnivores in that we also eat fruits and veggies and for survival purposes we can subsist on a nonmeat diet, but it was meat that helped advance us in the evolutionary process–not a vegetarian diet. Try reading this brief article on Food Anthropology for starters if you somehow believe meat is not tied in with evolutionary progress.

Does that mean we cannot overcome biology and find a way to be vegan? Sure, there may be legitimate meat substitutes that provide everything our bodies need in the future. At that time, we’re going to have an interesting problem–what to do with all of our domesticated animals?

3 thoughts on “PETA Wants Bible to Include Animal Friendly Language

  1. how many species would become extinct if we switched to pure vegetarianism? what about theirs rights to survive? never mind. we are in the middle of one of histories great extinction events.

  2. Your article is garbage.
    1. Requesting the use of pronouns as He and she for animals is to declare their gender.
    2. Birds do not shit on YOU on purpose. You just happened to be underneath.
    3. What level of education did you complete?

    And to Phil:

    Do you seriously believe that cattle, fish and poultry would become extinct?
    Do you forget that every species in their respective ecosystem thrives independent of humans?
    Fish have their own lives and interdependencies in the oceans, cattle and pointy too in their natural habitats and devoid of human interaction.

    These animals don’t need humans. Humans exploit them as a free resource and for profit

    Get real!

  3. Garbage? Okay, sure, if your comment really addressed the point being made.

    Requesting pronouns in terms of the Bible is political correctness, it’s not about gender specifics like we need to know the gender of the snake that tempted Eve. It’s about putting animals on the same level as humans–the Bible is not a modern book concerned about the gender of animals to be on equal footing with humans. There’s no need to modernize it and destroy any literary or historical value it may have left. We don’t need the illusion that the Bible is animal friendly. It is not. And how the hell are you going to know what animal was he or she if it was referred to “it” some couple of thousand years ago? If the translation requires it, go ahead, but if this is a PC “add on” then forget it.

    I never said birds shit on me on purpose–they don’t care who’s under them. That’s the point. Birds don’t understand respect or being polite. It was sarcasm because we humanize or anthropomorphize animals just like PETA wishes to do with the language of the Bible. Animals don’t respect humans or other animals with niceties. Why would it matter if they do it on purpose or not? And chimps do throw shit at humans on purpose which I also mentioned if you’re looking for intentional disrespect (I think they get a good laugh out of it). In terms of valuing life, humans are ahead of animals in being able to process that kind of thinking.

    On cattle, fish and poultry? Try releasing domesticated cows into the wild and see how they survive. It would be a cruel thing to do. It would be “inhumane.” Really? Domesticated animals are going to survive in the wild? Chickens in the wild?

    Humans also help certain fish species like Salmon survive. Humans are responsible for damaging the environment but also conserving it and any animal that is dependent on humans is not going to survive on their own. There’s a difference between wild animals and domesticated animals (cows versus wild cattle for instance). If you can’t see that, I don’t know what to tell you.

    We exploit animals and animals exploit other animals. That’s not meant to demean animals or ignore some of the complex social behavior we see amongst packs, herds or primate groups, it simply refers to evolution and how nature works. It’s the brutal truth that nature is a cruel process. Animals kill animals and animals will kill you if they are hungry and able to. A lion that kills another lion’s cubs when it takes over a pride does not have a developed sense of morality like humans. It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it’s just nature. When humans kill human children we define it as murder. Humans are superior in defining morality, though we often fail in applying it.

    You ignored the real point of the article, these are all tangents–don’t try to “nice” up the Bible as it is full of animal sacrifice and drowning creation. Leave ancient texts alone so they represent actual history. Animal rights are really about humans coming to terms with how they should treat the other creatures on earth and the environment in general. Animals aren’t involved in deep thought about their rights or conservation, they run mainly on instinct. It was humans eating animals that led to big brains that led to the concept of “animal rights”.

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