In September, the Fund for Animals called on the Special Youth Challenge Ministries of Dallas, Georgia, to end its sponsorship of hunting trips for terminally ill and disabled children.
According to its website, the Special Youth Challenge Ministries,
. . . is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), national volunteer ministry to reach people for Jesus Christ through Christian lifestyle witnessing by teaching physically challenged youth ages 13 ? 19 how to overcome some of the obstacles of shooting and hunting through special training and events.
The Fund for Animals spiritual outreach director Norm Phelps, however, claimed in a press release that the Bible specifically condemns hunting. Phelps said,
Killing animals for sport is a form of animal abuse that teaches cruelty instead of love and mercy, is contrary to the gospel of Christ, and is condemned by the Bible.
The press release went on to provide the following justification for those statements,
Phelps, the author of Dominion of Love: Animal Rights According to the Bible (Lantern Books, 2002), pointed out that while hunting is never mentioned in the New Testament, Jesus taught kindness to animals on several occasions. Noting that people are prosecuted for doing to dogs and cats what hunters do to deer and geese, Phelps called hunting “legalized cruelty to animals.” In the Old Testament, Genesis describes Esau as “a skilled hunter” and his twin brother Jacob as “a peaceful man” who did not hunt. (Gen. 25:27) The prophet Malachi says that God “hated Esau and loved Jacob.” (Malachi 1:2-3) According to Phelps, “The condemnation of hunting could not be clearer or more vehement.”
But, of course, neither in Malachi nor elsewhere in the Bible does it say that God hated Esau because he was a hunter. Rather, God seems to have hated Esau because he sold his birthright and failed to repent (Hebrews 12:16-17: “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”)
The only thing clear and vehement here seems to be Phelps’ distortion of the Biblical text.
The Fund for Animals Calls For An End To “Sick” Hunts. Press Release, The Fund for Animals, September 9, 2003.