The Friends We Keep by Laura Hobgood-Oster is a wake-up call to faith communities. The author rightly claims that people may love their pets but the church has largely ignored animals. She salutes those Christian saints, such as Francis of Assisi, who made a special place in their hearts and communities for companion animals.
But the entrenched approach to animals in our culture is one of domination, with the result that nearly 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year and puppy mills and dog-fighting matches are still tolerated. Some theologians have protested, but its time for more Christians to stand against cruelty to animals. Hobgood-Oster makes a good case for extending reverence, hospitality and compassion to animals as cherished fellow-travelers on earth, (Baylor University Press).
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