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March 18, 2011

Southern Baptist Convention

Official and contemporary religious statements on animals

  • Young girls cradle a chicken.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is an alliance of autonomous Southern Baptist churches that "share a common bond of basic Biblical beliefs and a commitment to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world." Since its organization in 1845, it has grown to be the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

Billy Graham's media ministries have made him one of the SBC's best-known leaders and, according to a Gallup poll, one of the most admired people of the 20th century.

In 2010, Graham received a letter from a mother who worried that her daughter's desire to devote her life to animal care was not something God "is really interested in."

Graham responded, "Yes, let me assure you that God is concerned about our care of every part of His creation--including the animals. After all, he made them, and ultimately they belong to Him. The Bible says, 'For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills' (Psalm 50:10).

Graham received another letter asking if the Bible says anything about how humans should treat animals. He responded, "The Bible commands us to take care of animals...In fact," said Graham, "the Bible says we must never treat any part of God's creation with contempt. When we do, we are indirectly treating our Creator with contempt."

Also in 2010, after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, the SBC passed a resolution reminding members that God loves creation and wants us to "protect what God loves," including the "teeming life of the seas" and "the eco-systems of birds, shrimp, oysters, fish, and other life-forms."

For more official and contemporary statements on animals from the Southern Baptist Convention, including links to sources, documents and articles, read this PDF.

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