I Prayed have prayed
Father in heaven, Creator of all things, we pray today that You awaken America to the truth that the hole in the soul that cries out for companionship, comfort, and support is designed to be filled by You, and not by created things. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Analysis. The New York Post reported last week that a cat lover was charged with murder after running over a man to save a cat. The article described how a woman in Cypress, Calif., spotted a man she thought was trying to kill a cat. She got out of her car, yelled at the man, and as he tried to speak to her, got back in the vehicle, made a three-point turn, and ran at him. She hit him so hard that he was launched off the hood, bounced off her windshield, and hit the pavement. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The Orange County district attorney commented: “This action showed a complete disregard for human life.”

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What is most disturbing about this story is not only that someone lost his life based on an assumption that might very well have been false, but also that this woman is hardly alone in placing more value on the life of an animal than that of a human being — at least on the life of an animal that can be considered a pet. This is a growing trend.

Psychology professor Hal Herzog explores this issue in an article on Wired.com. His research finds that cases of pet killings are reported far more frequently than murders are, and that public outrage over the former is greater. Herzog cites the work of sociologists who put this to the test by having people read murder reports versus reports of pets that were killed. They found that people reacted much more emotionally to the reports of pet killings. (And those reports were fictitious — created only for the experiment.)

Why do we see this trend? And is it even worth praying about, given that there are so many other, more pressing issues? I believe it is indeed worth praying for, because this is an easily overlooked symptom of a deep, dark need in the human soul, one that expresses itself in worship of the creature rather than the Creator. The Apostle Paul elaborates on this:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. … And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done (Romans 1:21–25, 28).

An obvious expression of worshiping the creature above the Creator is the religious veneration of animals. This dates back to ancient Egypt, where such animals as cats and birds were considered sacred. In the Old Testament, we read that soon after God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, they rebelled against Him and forged a golden calf to worship instead (Exodus 31 and 32). Fast-forward to our modern world, where we have New Age religions and animism, with their worship of nature and of such animals as cows and monkeys, venerated by Hindus as incarnations of gods.

A less obvious expression of all this is when people’s emotional attachment to pets is stronger than their respect for human life — and much more important, stronger than their attachment to and worship of God.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with caring about animals and enjoying our pets. God has given us all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17), and being good to animals is, in general, part of good stewardship of God’s creation. A dog brings unconditional love, cats are amusing and cuddly, and horses bring a calming presence. In our household we’ve owned and enjoyed all three of these, and more.

It is when we start to attribute humanlike qualities to them, to value their companionship more than that of humans, and to use them to fill our God-given need for emotional support, unconditional love, and companionship that we cross a line. I have frequently ministered to people with deep emotional scars who trusted animals more than people, and even more than God, because they had been wounded by people in the past and lived in fear of being hurt again. Some people have left their entire fortune to their pets when they died. Others marry their pets.

The growing popularity of ESAs (emotional support animals) is further evidence of relationships with animals that have been taken too far. In an article published in the University of New Mexico Newsroom, forensic psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Younggren elaborates on the headaches of certifying emotional support animals for people with mental health disorders. The reason, he says, is that there is little evidence that the animals put forward for certification can actually do what the patient expects them to do. “An ESA is an example of a well-intended idea that has metastasized and developed into a world of nonsense,” Younggren states. He hastens to add that this has nothing to do with service animals like guide dogs and other assistance animals trained to perform specific tasks and which have proved to be extremely valuable to patients.

I believe that these trends of valuing animal life more than human life and of giving to them a greater place than to humans and especially to God all point to an urgent need for prayer. This is because valuing animals above God is a symptom of exchanging the truth for a lie and of worshiping the creature rather than the Creator, and thus of being given over to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. An example of such a debased mind is the killing of a man because you think he is doing something bad to a cat. There are other symptoms of this soul sickness that are not related to animals. Among these are self-medication through substance abuse, alcoholism, and pornography and other sex addictions. All of these are man-made ways of trying to fill the “hole in our soul,” that empty space that hungers for validation, comfort, unconditional love, hope, joy, peace, and purpose — the hole that was designed to be filled by God Himself when He created people. The debased mind that Paul talks about comes from our attempts to fill up that hole with everything under the sun except Him.

Incidents like the one that prompted me to write this call to prayer are occurring with ever greater frequency. They point to the reality that we are living in an increasingly anxious, depressed, stressed out, emotionally unstable society that is busy ignoring the One under Whom we claim to be as one nation, and to Whom alone we may turn for  intervention.

And that is cause for us to step up our prayer for God to open hearts to the gospel (Acts 16:14) that is being preached around the nation and is embedded in our foundation. God’s call to turn away from animal veneration and from self-medication to open our hearts to Him, to be healed, and to have that hole in our soul filled to all fullness with Himself can still be heard.

Father in heaven, forgive us for all the times we have venerated created things, even pets, above You and sought fulfillment in places where You never intended for it to be found. Forgive us for being a nation of people claiming to be under You but who are looking to fill the hole in our souls with everything but You — including a vain intimacy with our pets. All of this moves us to pray that You would visit us with the Holy Spirit and open the hearts of those who are hurting and seeking to soothe their pain. Bring them to the truth of the gospel and its message that You not only long to bring redemption from the wages of sin, but also to be Yourself the center of our lives and the source of all healing, joy, peace, hope, comfort, and purpose. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

What did you think of this article? Share your prayers for the respect and the value of human life below.

Remco Brommet is a pastor, spiritual-growth teacher, and prayer leader with over 40 years of experience in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the U.S. Born and raised in the Netherlands and having pastored his first church in Amsterdam, he moved to the U.S. in 1986. He and his wife, Jennifer, live north of Atlanta. When not writing books, he blogs and assists his wife as a content developer and prayer coordinator for True Identity Ministries. Jennifer and Remco are passionate about bringing people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Photo Credit:  Humberto Arellano on Unsplash.

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Gail Harmon
October 15, 2022

I agree that the Lord must be first in our hearts. In my case, my pet provides unconditional love, as it does for many people. If the church was doing its job, there would be plenty of fellowship provided for single people. I have been saved for 41 years, and most churches cater to married couples. I’ve spent many holidays alone, so I had to get used to it. My 44 year old son died in 2021, and I haven’t seen or heard from my 29 year old son in five years. But that didn’t stop him from calling me recently and feeling entitled to ask me for $4200.00–which I flatly refused. So yes, for people like me who’ve been betrayed by a loved one, and don’t appreciate how single people are ignored in church–I’m glad I have a pet. I liked the article but wish it would have addressed WHY PEOPLE TURN TO PETS FOR COMPANIONSHIP. I praise God for the joy I have worshiping Him, and the happiness He bestows on me–in spite of my circumstances.

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    Joshua
    October 24, 2022

    I totally agree with you, Gail. I’ve been through the same experience. The church is oblivious to the single person by saying “I’m praying for you” without action, but quick to plan meals for a Bible Study group to take to a family with a sick member. It is a huge flaw in the body of Christ right now. He’s addressing all of our flaws during this time. Including judging others who believe differently. We’re all “working out our salvation.”
    God still ministers to His people even if it means sending another creation as a pet. Just like He will raise up rocks to praise Him if we don’t praise Him. He makes another way and loving His gifts are not worship, even though people who don’t see His beauty may replace that need to worship animals. We should never be quick to judge others under a law.

Paulene Dougherty
October 8, 2022

It seems to me that both the green new deal worshipers of planet earth and the largely anthropocentric Christian community have it wrong. Is God to be worshiped first, Absolutely! The people who put the planet first, without God, are left to their own mind to do stupid stuff. They outlaw good forest management to ” preserve habitat” which leads to devastating forest fires which destroy even more habitat and kill many more. Climate alarmists outlaw gas cars in favor of electric vehicles, create even more environmental destruction through production of toxic batteries that can’t be safely disposed of… I could go on. The lady in the article could have stopped the abuse of the cat without engaging in the overkill of running the perpetrator over with her car..
Conversely, the church often interprets God’s charge to man to ” have dominion” as a license to use and abuse all other creatures at will for his own selfish purposes with impunity ( in excess of 18 million loyal dogs are killed in shelters every year for no reason other than they have become an inconvenience to their ” owners” . This tragedy has increased exponentially with all of the pandemic pets being abandoned in droves as people return to their lives) and any objection to such is called “worshiping the creature over the creator” (similar to the left’s response to the expression of conservative opinion calling it “fascist” .) when neither are true.
Animals, like babies are completely innocent, so its natural to be more upset when they are harmed.
God loves his creation and endued his man with this natural affection. Yes, man is made in the image of God, created just below God himself, absolutely! but with this high position comes great responsibility to Shepard and care for God’s creation as a righteous under ruler. The scripture tells us a good man takes care of the animals. They may not be in the class of man, but they are not things either! If they were merely things, then how would their shed blood have the power to mitigate sin? This scripture also has plenty to say about how a higher being is to behave. Jesus refers to himself as the good shepherd. He also says to let he who would be greatest among you, be the servant of all. The concept of servant leadership is woven throughout scripture. Yes, man has God’s permission to eat certain animals, but shouldn’t any hunting or farming occur within the bounds of righteous stewardship? I dont think objectifying exploitive practices such as factory farming qualify! Should we fight as vigorously to save unborn babies as we do to save whales? without a doubt! Every life matters!

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Linda Coletta
October 8, 2022

Standing up for animals who cannot stand up for themselves is compassionate, not sinful. Running a person over who is abusing an animal is wrong, but standing up for that animal is not wrong. God has given us dominion over the animals, and it is our duty to help protect them, especially our own pets. One can certainly have God in his rightful place and still love, care for and defend animals. God has given me a ministry of caring for discarded dogs, and both people and animals are served by this ministry. Unfortunately, I have seen self-proclaimed Christians, especially pastors, who have not cared properly for their pets, so I would hesitate to say that Christians have done a great job of discerning the level of care and love which should be bestowed on the animals God has entrusted to our care.

Judy Beavers
October 5, 2022

I have been made aware of in my spirit that this is the wrongful love of animals over God and other humans.

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Janet
October 5, 2022

I know a young man, a veteran, who lost his family because of his PTSD. He is living alone, working to care for himself but disliking people. He is a believer but struggles with loving after being used by man . A puppy was dumped by someone at his residence and would not leave ; he had a choice to unselfishly care for her or ignore her; he chose to see her as a gift from God to help soften his heart. What he needed was to “be needed” and loved as God loves us as we are. He has a reason to go home where someone is waiting to greet him. A feeling he needed to feel again. As long as he acknowledges the puppy is a demonstration of God’s love to Him, this young man can grow in faith and find healing. When others see how his heart has softened, they may then give him the acceptance he longs for but had forgotten how to find.
God did give us dominion over His Creation and how we treat it is a testimony to how we treasure it. So we do need to pray that we do not fall to idolizing it above God but see it as His gift of love to us. Children see how adults care for animals as a sign of how they as innocent and weaker will be treated. Bullies hurt those who are vulnerable whether animal or human. It is a heart problem that must be addressed . It is those who are bullied as a child, who grow up to be bullies or go the other way, worship animals who are weak. So yes, we must pray for speaking the truth in love to those who choose either way of handling their emotional needs.
Lord, we praise You for your Creation . We praise You for giving us the gift of animals to care for . We pray that as this nation has turned from worshipping You to worshipping creatures, that You will hear our prayers for revival. Though man tries to make laws about life, we know You are The Way, the Truth and the Life. Help us keep it all in perspective as we testify of You in this fallen world. Amen.

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Sandra
October 4, 2022

This article really hits close to home. While I understand the comfort a pet can bring,I also am well aware of the pet replacing healthy human relationships. Sadly I have experienced this first hand. God made us to be relational beings. I know it doesn’t honor Him to put pets above people and HIM. Lord forgive us for this. Holy Spirit guide us to healthy relationships with others as we seek You first.Maybe once we put God first,we will value human life over animals.

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Raz
October 4, 2022

This article “hits the nail on the head”!!!!! We just can’t put God’s creation above the Creator!!!!!
Thank you for this informative and true article!!!!

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Helenmary
October 4, 2022

My grandmother, born 1885, would say, “Get some stars in your crown; raise children.” It disturbs me to hear people speak of “fur babies” or have bumper stickers that read “I am a Dog Mom” or “Cat Mom.” I get the joke–yet in light of this undeniable trend, a subtle elevation of animal over human life should be guarded against.

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Momto4
October 4, 2022

One of my kids, 18 yrs old was just talking about this and how bad it is on the internet and how misguided and upsetting it is to him, as people will say “I care more about an animal getting sick/dying more than a person”. This has even progressed into the whole “furry” trend, which I think fir adults doing that it’s a bizarre sex cult, but for kids it’s venerating animals – a desire to transition species I guess. A reject of God’s authority over creation, and the spiritually naive don’t even realize that’s at satan’s root of it all.

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Alice
October 4, 2022

Amen! Excellent! 🙏🙏🙏❤️

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Susanj
October 4, 2022

I grew up on a farm and I never understood people’s obsession with caring for their animals, like humans. A lot of time, money and emotion spent on them. I took 4 stray cats to the vet to have neutered some 20 years ago.
I had to sign a paper that if, they were already pregnant, the vet couldn’t operate on them. Those unborn kittens were protected from being aborted. Needless to say, I lost it that day and cried out to God in righteous anger. My eyes were opened to pet idolatry.

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    Mischa
    October 4, 2022

    I disagree. Why not just leave the stray cats alone, they are outside to fend for themselves, they may die anyway. Lots of countries have way more stray cats like Sardinia, Ukraine, Philippines. (Places ive been and seen way more stray cats) America is strange how they neuter their pets and there are hardly any strays. I think Americans value what they think is a nice looking country, but lots of places just couldn’t be bothered by stray animals, especially cats that arent AS dangerous like stray dogs can be.
    One wrong (how easily a human baby is aborted and justified in peoples minds) does not make another wrong right. I understand farmers kill animals that are pests to their crops, and to me that is normal. Feeding a family is more important, and it’s your land and property. Basically do what you want. My grandma used to kill baby bunnies which to me is sad but her reason was they were eating all the food on the farm. In Italy they eat rabbit, another animal I think Americans value too highly.
    But why kill all those kittens?
    And this comment is from someone who values human life more than animals and does not idolize animals. I just think it’s a good thing to care for animals. I am not sure where all the strays end up but if they are killed I think that’s pretty cruel. Why not let them live outside , is keeping our country beautiful country more important than letting an animal live?
    I grew up outside of the US for 18 years. So I definitely think the way some Americans value their animals is crazy, when I’ve seen poverty of people who can’t even feed themselves more than once per day. But, on the other hand I believe it’s a good thing to take care of an animal and not be cruel to it.
    Proverbs 12:10 Good people take care of their animals, but even the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

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      Susanj
      October 4, 2022

      I get what you are saying, BUT strays have more strays. I didn’t want a dozen cats eating from our outdoor cat’s dish. Letting wildlife be wildlife sounds easy enough, but that is why Fox Island, where we lived, should have been named Deer Island. It’s not easy to control with animal lovers for neighbors. This animal idolatry is very common and it divides friendly neighborhoods.
      Lord, help us to set our priorities right, worship The Creator, not the creation, and not judge others who have fallen into this deception of animal idolatry.

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Joshua
October 4, 2022

This sheds a lot of light on people who do not see the innocent child who is being aborted, but will protect the innocent cat, dog or even wildlife. I find this ironic.
On the other hand, for someone to grieve the loss of a long-time pet, isn’t any less of a loss then someone else who’s lost their child. It is insensitive for people to discount a person’s grief for their pet just because it wasn’t the loss of a child or family member. Not one of God’s creation is forgotten by Him either.
There is a line between choosing an animal over a human… and being sensitive to another’s loss for a pet. Grief is not idolatry.
We need to ask the Lord to guide us, in being loving to the person who is grieving, while protective of all creation. Let’s also remember to not be condemning or judgmental in each situation, but to pray for the person who feels more love from an innocent animal than the insensitive people around them.

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Rich Swingle
October 4, 2022

I saw this idolatry of pets first hand in our lobby: The management in our building honors those who have died with a paper memorial plaque, but people have been taking to putting up their own memorials for their pets. They typically go on the left side of the flower arrangement, but the other day I moved one there from the people side of the flowers. Someone moved it back to the people side. So sad.

This also reminds me of the way Rudolph Giulliani cleaned up New York City’s crime when he was United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He had police officers arrest turnstile jumpers in the subways. They would daisy-chain them together on the platform in handcuffs, sending a clear message that it wouldn’t be tolerated. The murder rate went down. I believe if we can pray into being a healthy relationship to our pets, much of the insanity of our world will come down.

I prayed through this wonderful diagnostic article. Lord, heal us of idolatry of pets and heal our land!

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Rebecca
October 4, 2022

Oh, my! I have been thinking about this for a few years now. It is so easy to see. Our society today seems to be saying, “Protect the bears, save the whales but when it comes to tiny unborn humans in the womb – let them die!” This is so very disturbing. Please God wake up the people to see the value of human life in the way they uphold and honor the life of pets and animals.

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RShuler
October 4, 2022

As a child, my pets were my comfort. Adults were not nice—animals were. So it was easy to love the way pets loved me, safe and honest. I became a blood washed and born again Christian at 12. But, I still had difficulty loving people. Until many years later, one day at the altar, while praying for the hunter who had shot and killed my Boston terrier and for the other hunter who put an arrow through my cat’s back(the cat survived🙏🏼), God gave me love for people. The love for the unlovable hateful ones, that only the love of the Father can give you. So, I understand those people who care more for animals. They just need the peaceful love that only The Father can give. Just ask for it!
Thank You Father God Almighty, for Your Supernatural Love! In Jesus name we pray, Amen

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Suzanne Hoffman
October 4, 2022

Thank you for shedding light on this subject. We can get caught up in things without realizing it. Pets are a big part of my life and have been a great comfort but I can see the risk of becoming too emotionally involved. Anything that we place above our precious Lord can quickly become an idol. God help us to keep our guard up against the subtle things in our life that can distract us from putting Him first always.

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Suzy
October 4, 2022

Truly Lord we must repent for making our pets as idols in our lives. You made man in your image, not pets, and you showed us in Genesis that animals were not enough to be a helpmate and companion to Adam. We’ve gone so far to calling pets our ‘children’ and treat them almost better than human beings. May we humble ourselves and turn from our ‘wicked ways’ and honor you instead of your creation. In Jeus Name.

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Marlene Falvey
October 4, 2022

I agree! I have felt this to be true for quite a while now. Only Jesus can fill that void. We need to seek Him, read His word, pray and reach out to others who are hurting.

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Janet M Craig
October 4, 2022

Yes I have seen people honor their pets even more than their children.
Father we repent of honoring pets animals and created thing above You. Forgive us of this sin of worshiping animals and other things and not honoring You. Father God I pray that this nation will turn their eyes and hearts to the one true God the creator of all things. And before the rocks cry out Your praise
We cry out our praises to You our Father in heaven.

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Sandy Combs
October 4, 2022

I’ve been concerned about this for a long time and am so glad to finally see it addressed. I was beginning to think no one else recognized this aberration and when I bring the topic up with others, the room suddenly goes quiet around me.

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Gail Wood
October 4, 2022

When God created Adam one of his jobs was to care for the animals. We can own and love animals and do what God wants us to do and that is to look after the creatures tame and wild that He created.
We love our furry babies but still recognize that no life is as important as human life. We know this because Jesus laid down His life for us.
As Godly children we are to care for animals and creatures.
There are people who have taken animals to and absurd level. Satan has entered into these people and things have gone too far just as with those who harm animals.
There has to be a point where a person realizes that the emptiness they have deep inside can not be filled by animals or material things
but only by the Holy Spirit.
Father , in Jesus precious and Holy name we pray that you would protect all of your creatures from evil people and also teach peoples heart’s that it is wonderful to love our pets but we are to esteem humans above all else as we are created by You and in Your image.
In Jesus name,
Amen

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Shannon
October 4, 2022

I’m a Christian but also love animals. We have many pets and I have a pet sitting business. I see nothing wrong with loving and caring for God’s creation. He gave them to us to be a blessing. As a believer I value human life as well as the life of any animal. Yes I’m one that gets upset if I run over any kind of animal while driving…I’ve always been sensitive! As for the woman that killed the man well that was obviously wrong…is there evidence the man was abusing the cat? If I saw someone abusing an animal you better believe I’d jump in to help rescue it! However, I wouldn’t go to the lengths of taking another human beings life! I value life and that goes for both human beings and animals!

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    Laura K
    October 4, 2022

    I am right there with you Shannon.
    Lord, ALL life is precious to you and has been from the beginning. Let righteous justice and commonsense prevail

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Allena Jordan
October 4, 2022

Father, help Your own born-again children to be “light and salt” in this dark world. Fill our souls with joy, peace, kindness and compassion. Help us to see that hurting soul as we go about our day. Open doors for us to speak peace into a troubled soul. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Vickie Unrue
October 4, 2022

Thank you for addressing this delicate issue. Besides prayer, how do you recommend Christians try to help someone who has developed such an unhealthy attachment with their pet? Should we confront them and risk ending the relationship, since they already care more for the pet than for people? How do we get through to them without breaking the relationship? Any advice or further guidance is appreciated. All God’s care.

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    Linda Bilton
    October 4, 2022

    I have been concerned about this as well. More questions then answers. We ask for Your intervention O God! Holy Spirit draw these emotionally broken ones to Jesus! May they find wholeness in You!

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RShuler
October 4, 2022

True, we need to value human life! However, My husband witnessed a minister swerve his car off the road to kill my neighbors cat. She was nursing kittens(which I saved, by caring for them). A person who has no regard for the life of animals has little regard for any life. Serial killers often start out by torturing animals. The family has broken down, which in turn has broken society.
God bless the beasts and the children.

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    Shannon
    October 4, 2022

    Amen you said this well!

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    Mischa
    October 4, 2022

    Yes, animal cruelty shows a lot about a person. And it’s not wrong to advocate for animal safety, as well as be against babies being killed in the womb, because the main point is exposing those evil people who don’t care about animals. (Anthony Fauci who had puppies tortured). Those same people are probably involved in things that harm human lives. It’s connected to me, if you can be so cruel to animals, you probably don’t value human life as you should, or at the very least you may not be a very nice person. And if we expose animal cruelty, we also may find the same people who are being cruel or harming humans in some way. Especially large scale, evil science experiments like the puppies. And Fauci also advocated for a world-wide human experiment with the untested & poorly tested vaccines. That are harming humans. In his case this rings absolutely true.

    I’m sure everyone can agree that woman was completely wrong. The point is, animal cruelty is still wrong, but obviously human life is more important no matter what.

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