Animals are individuals, and like humans they have emotions.
PETA has mailed a letter to Cornerstone Nashville, a Tennessee church, requesting them to cease the use of live animals to illustrate sermons. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) were aware that the animals were sourced from the nearby Hollywild zoo. According to PETA, they were compelled to send the communication after the church included more than the usual number of animals in its Sunday worship service. The church brought in a cougar, a ram, a horse, and a lion.
PETA, in its letter, has put forward particular issues with Cornerstone making use of animals from South Carolina's Hollywild Animal Park. The United States Department of Agriculture has previously fined Hollywild $19,000 as violation charges. The governing body did a two-year investigation to uncover animals confined to unsafe enclosures and suffering from a lack of qualified veterinary care. The animal rights organization pointed out that all animals are God's creation and individuals in their own right. They feel fear, joy, loneliness, and sadness like humans. Using such individuals as props merely undermines the work of the Almighty.
For the church visitor, Cornerstone Nashville's services can only be described as unique. Galen Davis, the church pastor, periodically stood in front of the lion and spoke passionately about the relevant contents of the Bible by gesturing towards the caged animal. He claimed that the enemy's voice is of fear while Christ's voice is of faith. Congregants, he said emphatically, must not confuse the roar of faith with a scream of faith. For regular visitors to the church, this spectacle is nothing new. In 2016, to give an example, the church brought a whole rodeo inside its premises.
Predictably, the priests of Cornerstone disagree with PETA. Pastor Maury Davis said that he does not believe in abusing animals. Davis, who will soon leave the church to have a consulting career with other churches, had repeatedly said that using animals cannot be construed as wrong-doing. His son is pastor Galen Davis.
Maury Davis informed the media that PETA has sent him a standard notice which it sends when the church includes animals in its sermons. He does not intend to reply to any PETA correspondence. The pastor claimed that he has no objection to having a debate with animal rights activists if there is a chance to resolve this issue. In the case of PETA, he claims to have given up hope.