For Immediate Release:
November 19, 2021
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Battle Creek, Mich. – After a deer crashed through a window at Grace Christian Fellowship on the opening day of hunting season, PETA’s Christian outreach division, LAMBS (which stands for “Least Among My Brothers and Sisters” from Matthew 25:40), sent a letter today to pastors Luke and Amanda Eicher urging them to honor God’s plan for all creation and Christ’s compassion by encouraging parishioners to give all deer sanctuary by not hunting them.
“There’s nothing less in line with Jesus’ teachings than taking the life of a vulnerable animal,” says PETA Senior Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes the Eichers will honor this deer’s bid for sanctuary by encouraging their congregants to enjoy nonviolent outdoor activities, such as bird-watching, hiking, and canoeing.”
LAMBS—whose motto, in a twist on PETA’s, is “Animals are not ours. They’re God’s”—holds that being made in the image of God is a call to show compassion and mercy, not dominance and violence. For more information, please visit PETALambs.com.
PETA’s letter to the Eichers follows.
November 19, 2021
The Rev. Luke Eicher and the Rev. Amanda Eicher
Grace Christian Fellowship
Dear Pastors Eicher:
I’m writing on behalf of LAMBS, the Christian outreach division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally—after learning that a deer crashed through your church’s window on the opening day of deer hunting season. Will you please consider using this incident as an opportunity to honor God’s plan and Christ’s compassion by urging your parishioners not to hunt? Indeed, in Matthew 25:40—the verse that inspired LAMBS—Jesus says, “Whatever you do unto the least among my brothers and sisters, you do as unto me.” Animals are truly “the least” among us—and in need of our compassion and mercy.
It’s impossible to justify killing another sentient being for “sport,” but when it comes to food, many of us grew up believing that killing animals to eat them is somehow necessary. However, if we stop to reflect honestly, it’s clear that killing requires violence, bloodshed, and separating ourselves from the rest of creation. Christian theology has long recognized our God-granted dominion over the Earth not as authorization to exploit other sentient beings but as a sacred duty to be loving stewards of His creation. As you preach, we were created in God’s loving image (Genesis 1:27; 1 John 4:8), and thus, we’re called to show love to the world and all His creatures. Surely, Jesus considered our treatment of animals when He said, “Blessed are the merciful” (Matthew 5:7).
Deer are gentle, intelligent animals who remember and learn from negative experiences, love their families, and do not deserve to be violently killed for sport or food. Fawns usually stay by their mothers’ sides for up to two years, but hunting often devastates entire families when a mother is killed, leaving behind offspring who cannot feed or fend for themselves. The terror of being stalked and ambushed causes hunted animals to endure tremendous stress, and inescapable, earsplitting noises from the gunfire and other commotion that hunters create disturb an otherwise peaceful community. Many animals are also badly injured and suffer greatly when hunters miss their targets.
God designed humans to be caretakers, not killers. He put animals’ fate into our hands only after He lamented our ancestors’ wickedness and flooded the Earth. This likely left Noah’s family with little to eat but animals. That’s a bleak position to be in: Kill and eat God’s creations—or perish. Thankfully, today, we don’t face such desperation and are blessed with an abundance of choices.
We hope you’ll reflect on the fear that this deer and others will experience during hunting season and encourage your parish and social media followers to celebrate the natural world through hiking, photography, rafting, birdwatching, and other pursuits that allow others to live their lives as God intended, in peace. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours in Christ,