“…. there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham….”
—Black Beauty, Chapter 13, last paragraph.
Cruelty. That’s primarily what this book was about. Although it focused on horses, I don’t think we’ve changed much since this way written in the late 1800’s. We still really like consuming. We like paying a little as possible to get what we want. Those two sentences explain child slave labor, factory farming atrocities, and dog fighting.
Anna Sewell links the commandments of Christianity to our moral obligation to prevent cruelty. Given that I was raised to be a Christian, I can see her point is supported by The Bible. This is the sort of Christian principle that I can get behind. But that’s not what I see many churches and Christians doing.
Nuns visiting and comforting people that are incarcerated? Yes. The church that established commune for drug addicts where the parishioners live among the addicts to comfort them and encourage them to change? Yes. Christians, can we have more of this? Can we turn up the dial on that, and turn down the dial on that sack of shit Fred Phelps? I know he doesn’t represent all of you.
Can we turn down the ill-considered debate on birth control? Jesus had nothing to say about birth control. He also has nothing to say about homosexuality. But he said many things that are relevant to your daily behavior and choices. Stuff like, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” And this, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ The way I see it, you could work on those two things the rest of your life without telling anyone else about what birth control to use.
Black Beauty was a nice easy read. But I already feel passionate about preventing animal cruelty, so I don’t think I left the book with novel thoughts. I do have a deeper appreciation for how terrible horses were treated when they were our primary form of transportation. I wouldn’t read this again, but I’m glad I read it.