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Professor of ‘theology of animals’ dogged in her beliefs

LORETTA FULTON: ‘The turning point for Susan Pigott came one night when she was stewing a chicken for her favorite dish, chicken tetrazzini. A repulsive thought came to her. “This is a dead animal. I am a cannibal. I can’t do this anymore.” That was about 15 years ago. Since then, Pigott, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at the Logsdon School of Theology at Hardin-Simmons University, has gone whole hog, so to speak… After her experience with the stewing chicken, Pigott became a vegetarian and so did her two children, although she didn’t insist they follow her diet… Susan Pigott got so deep into her revelation about animals and their relationship to God, creation, and humanity, that she spent her sabbatical leave in 2007 doing research that resulted in a special class she taught one semester, “Animals in the Bible”…

Pigott’s journey has evolved from the personal (no more dead animals for supper) to the ethical to the theological. After her spiritual awakening over the stew pot, she started looking more deeply into the modern factory farm method of raising animals for slaughter. “I was appalled,” she said. “This can’t be OK.” And then, being a Christian and a religion professor, she began to look more deeply into the theology of animals in scripture. She found that scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments support humane treatment of animals…

Pigott is so well versed in the pertinent scriptures that it wouldn’t be wise to pepper her with skeptical comments or questions like, “The Bible says man has dominion over animals” or “Jesus ate meat” or “But, animals don’t have souls, do they?” She is ready to answer with specific scriptures that put those kinds of comments in their place. Concerning the word “dominion,” Pigott said both testaments are clear that having dominion does not give a human being the right to be a tyrannical ruler. “It’s absolutely a peaceable kind of dominion,” she said. “Even the dominion of the king is limited.” As for Jesus’ dietary habits, Pigott noted that meals in the time of Jesus were primarily vegetarian, with animals valued for their byproducts’. SOURCE…


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