(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) Early church fathers rebuked Christians for paying money to feed their dogs while leaving abandoned children to die on the slopes behind their homes. But today, no one calls Christians to consider the love and affection and wealth we shower on our precious pets while turning cold hearts to the handicapped, the elderly, illegal aliens, AIDS orphans, and the unborn children slaughtered each week at the abortuaries just down the street from our churches.
In fact, some churches are leading the way in making a principle of such perversity. Blathering on about dogs' deep feelings and souls, Covenant Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, for instance, has begun holding worship services for dogs and their people...
Here's the Biblical explanation given by Covenant's pastor, Tom Eggebeen:
"The Bible says of God only two things in terms of an 'is': That God is light and God is love. And wherever there's love, there's God in some fashion," said Eggebeen, himself a dog lover. "And when we love a dog and a dog loves us, that's a part of God and God is a part of that. So we honor that."
The weekly dog service at Covenant Presbyterian is part of a growing trend among churches nationwide to address the spirituality of pets and the deeply felt bonds that owners form with their animals.
Traditionally, conventional Christians believe that only humans have redeemable souls, said Laura Hobgood-Oster, a religion professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.
But a growing number of congregations from Massachusetts to Texas to California are challenging that assertion with regular pet blessings and, increasingly, pet-centric services, said Hobgood-Oster, who studies the role of animals in Christian tradition.