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Discussion About the Article:
Violent Role Models:
George Bush Sr. and the United Methodist Church

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Comments by Frank L. Hoffman
8 July 2001

Dear Heather, Roger and Others:

You are most definitely not alone in your thinking about "freedom" for our companion animals. Linda J. Howard wrote an excellent essay on this subject entitled 'Protected or Prisoners' at   You might want to read it, because it reflects her mental struggle with Keats.

Being responsible in preventing death and violence does not mean that we have to keep an animal in a cage, but it might mean keeping them in an enclosed yard or on a long leash or a tethered run. And sometimes the inner emotional struggle is quite high, but I believe we also need to look at the greater picture of doing no harm as it was in Eden and as it will be in God's Kingdom.

The problem we all face is where to draw the line.

Most of us seem to have stopped eating flesh for reasons of compassion. I know several people who eat flesh but keep their companion animals from hunting for reasons of compassion. Is this any different than what we are discussing? I don't believe it is. I personally believe that some confinement is better than death, and that both non-death causing conditions should be promoted.

How do we feel about abortion? Is it murder? Certainly the baby dies. Or do we "confine" the mother to give birth and raise an unwanted child? We make a choice. The only truly humane thing is to not get pregnant, and that is not always the woman's choice.

We spay and neuter our companion animals and farm animals on our sanctuaries to prevent unwanted births and the subsequent killing of unwanted animals. In such cases are we not exercising our dominion in the most humane way we can in order to prevent death?

There is a constant give and take in our imperfect world. But there comes a time when our peaceful role models must stand up and say, "This violence must stop!" Peace does not come through war, as our societies never seem to learn, but peace does come with some restraint in a violent world. Mary and I believe that we should set such a non-violent, peacemaker, and child of God example in everything we do and say. We're not dictating this stance, but we want others to recognize the violence, suffering and death in our world, and our individual role in promoting and maintaining it. And in such recognition, hopefully, we will move closer to non-violence.

People look to their leaders and role models for examples of what to do, and they copy them, in food, in dress, and in lifestyle, including their violent or non-violent behavior.

As Christian role models and ambassadors, we believe we are charged with promoting the peaceful non-violent Kingdom, that we say we represent, until our King's "will" becomes a reality "on earth as it is in heaven".

In the Love of the Lord,

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