Lawsuit claims chimpanzees should be recognized as "persons," and liberated...

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Back in the late seventies at UW-Madison, my friend Keith Yandell suggested I take a course offered by the Philosophy Department titled "Environmental Ethics." Taught by the then-chairman of the department, Jon Moline, the course began with Dr. Moline presenting to the class a current effort in California to establish in court that Redwood trees were persons and deserved protection as such under U.S. law.

A decade or so later, I read a piece in the New York Times Book Review written by a professor of philosophy at Harvard. He was reviewing a book by a Kentucky philosopher which made the case that distinctions between men and animals were simply "speciesism." That part is boring.

What I found noteworthy was the Harvard man's reaction...

His review dripped with something approximating "Eeeewww." He kept circling around the Kentucky man's arguments holding his nose, saying things like, "I'm not entirely comfortable with the argument that there's no difference between man and animal. Surely it's not true, is it? But heck if I know why."

Never did he hint at the truth his university and the entire Western world—what we used to call "Christendom" before we started slaughtering our little children by the billions—was built upon: that in all God's creation, man alone bears the Image of God. So all the readers were left with was the squeamishness of a Great Intellectual who, despite his awesome gray matter, couldn't figure out why God is mindful of man.

Now comes another group suing for the liberation of chimpanzees in captivity. CNN reports their arguments:

"Not long ago, people generally agreed that human slaves could not be legal persons, but were simply the property of their owners. We will assert, based on clear scientific evidence, that it's time to take the next step and recognize that these nonhuman animals cannot continue to be exploited as the property of their human 'owners.'

"...To be a 'legal person,' one doesn't need to be a human being or even a biological being. A corporation is a legal person," wrote Joyce Tischler, co-founder of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The article ends with this question: "Are we really different from animals?"

Yes, man is different. Man alone bears the Image of God:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. - Genesis 1:26, 27

Jesus confirmed this when He said:

(Jesus said) Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? - Matthew 6:26

This is not to say that animals don't matter. Scripture also tells us God's compassion for animals:

(God said) Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals? - Jonah 4:11

So, dear brothers, eat meat. It's a very public confession of faith. God gave the animals to us for us to eat them:

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant." - Genesis 9:1-3

If you stiffen your resolve to say that with me—"God gave the animals to us for us to eat them"—you'll be less likely to slaughter your unborn children.

The central thrust of postmodernism is to obliterate God's distinctions. It is true Christian faith to confess them before men.


Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

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