I recently found out about the Humane Society of the US's "Faith
Outreach Program," which you can read more about on their website:http://www.humanesociety.org/about/departments/faith/
first, I had a negative reaction to this sort of thing. It seemed like
the HSUS was supporting situations where Christians would turn animal
events into opportunities for proselytizing--e.g., a church sponsors a
spay/neuter day for low-income folks and then hands out Bibles, talks to
them about Jesus, etc. when they show up with their pets. Were that the
case, I would have some serious opposition to it and was getting all
riled up to fire off a letter to the HSUS.
whipping out my rhetorical sword, I did some more research. What the
HSUS is doing instead of the pro-evangelizing scenario is to reach out
to faith organizations and make them aware of how animal stewardship and
humane behavior is a religious duty, and helping them to find ways to
take up that duty in order to help animals.
While, obviously, I
disagree with the foundational beliefs of the groups in question, I do
not think that the HSUS is supporting religion or helping it to promote
itself. It would be like reaching out to a major corporation or any
other group and educating it about 1) the need for ethical treatment of
animals, and 2) effective ways to practice humane values.
be interested to hear what some of you all think, though, as there
surely is a fine line here between reaching out to and actually
supporting religion in the name of animal welfare.