Jesus People for Animals Suggests New Text for Controversial Church Sign

PETA's letter to Senior Pastor Gene Youngblood of the First Conservative Baptist Church of Jacksonville follows.

For Immediate Release:
May 15, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Jakcsonville, Fla. – In light of Senior Pastor Gene Youngblood’s recent comments that his sign at the First Conservative Baptist Church of Jacksonville, which was recently used to convey a controversial message, is designed to “keep our citizens informed and at the same time be relevant through the Word of God,” Jesus People for Animals—PETA’s Christian outreach division—sent a letter to the pastor this morning with a hard-hitting Gospel-based suggestion for the church’s next message: “Love All Your Neighbors. Go Vegan.”

In its letter, Jesus People for Animals—whose motto reads, “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”—points out that Jesus’ message to love our neighbors should apply to all living beings, including the rabbits, foxes, cows, pigs, elephants, whales, and other animals who are used and abused by humans.

“Around the world, animals are denied the opportunity to form friendships, feel the warmth of the sun, roam freely, or do anything else that God intended for them,” says PETA Director of Christian Outreach and Engagement Sarah Withrow King. “The Bible tells us that the Good News is for all creation, and Jesus People for Animals encourages everyone to show love to all our neighbors, no matter how different they are, by making kind choices for animals about what we eat, wear, and buy.”

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PETA’s letter to Senior Pastor Gene Youngblood of the First Conservative Baptist Church of Jacksonville follows.

Dr. Gene A. Youngblood
Founder and Senior Pastor
First Conservative Baptist Church
12021 Old St. Augustine Rd.
Jacksonville, FL 22258

Dear Dr. Youngblood:

I am writing on behalf of Jesus People for Animals—the Christian outreach arm of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) which has more than 3 million members and supporters—with a suggestion for a hard-hitting Gospel message for you to use on your church sign next week. You have been quoted in a recent new story as saying you believe that your church’s sign should be used to “keep our citizens informed and at the same time be relevant through the Word of God.” We couldn’t agree more and would like to suggest that you change the sign to read, “Love All Your Neighbors. Go Vegan.” Please see the attached artwork for a better idea of what we are suggesting. We hope you will like it.

As we learn from the Bible, the Good News is for all of creation. By urging your congregation and community to go vegan in what they eat, wear, and buy, you’d be helping to end animal abuse and shedding light on the dirty business of using animals for human gain. Jesus urged us to love our neighbors, and surely, that includes animals who are used for food, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment. Many will never have felt the warmth of the sun, formed friendships, roamed free, or done any of the other things that God intended for them before they are killed for a sandwich, a sweater, or a shoe or to test shampoo.

Every time that we shop, choose an amusement, or feed our families, we can make compassionate choices—the ones that Jesus would have made. Our suggested sign would remind the congregation and community that three times a day, we have the opportunity to make the world a kinder and more compassionate place for animals simply by leaving them off our plates, swapping beans for beef, vegan wings for those made of real flesh, and almond milk for cow’s milk. Eating, wearing, and living vegan is something that we can all do every single day, and it not only relieves enormous suffering for both humans and animals but also is the single most effective thing that we can all do to protect this planet that God created. I think you’ll agree that there’s nothing more relevant to the Christian walk than that!

To help your congregation with this lifesaving message, we will send you free copies of our “Animal Protection and the Bible” and “Why Christians Should Be Vegan” leaflets as well as vegan starter kits.

Please contact me if you’d like to discuss this idea. Thank you for your consideration.

Grace and peace,

Sarah Withrow King
Director of Christian Outreach and Engagement

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind