On November 13, 2013 Professor Charles Camosy spoke about his newly released book, For Love of Animals. EPPC Fellow, Mary Eberstadt, joined him to offer commentary on the presentation.
For Love of Animals, written by Professor Charles Camosy, is an honest and thoughtful look at our responsibility as Christians with respect to animals. Many Christians misunderstand both history and their own tradition in thinking about animals. They are joined by prominent secular thinkers who blame Christianity for the Western world’s failure to seriously consider the moral status of animals.
This book explains how traditional Christian ideas and principles—like nonviolence, concern for the vulnerable, respect for life, stewardship of God’s creation, and rejection of consumerism—require us to treat animals morally. Though this point of view is often thought of as liberal, the book cites several conservatives who are also concerned about animals. Camosy’s Christian argument transcends secular politics.
The book’s starting point for a Christian position on animals—from the creation story in Genesis to Jesus’ eating habits in the Gospels—rests in Scripture. It then moves to explore the views of the Church Fathers, the teachings of the Catholic Church, and current discussions in both Catholic and Protestant theology. Ultimately, however, the book is concerned not with abstract ideas, but with how we should live our everyday lives. Should Christians eat meat? Is cooperation with factory farming evil? What sort of medical research on animals is justified? Camosy also asks difficult questions about hunting and pet ownership.
This is an ideal resource for those who are interested in thinking about animals from the perspective of Christian ethics and the consistent ethic of life. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter and suggestions for further reading round out the usefulness of this important work.
Charlie Camosy is Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at Fordham University, where he has been since finishing his PhD in theology at Notre Dame in 2008. He has published articles in the American Journal of Bioethics, the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, the Journal of the Catholic Health Association, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, and Commonweal Magazine. He is the author of three books. Too Expensive to Treat?–Finitude, Tragedy, and the Neonatal ICU (Eerdmans) was a 2011 award-winner with the Catholic Media Association, and Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization (Cambridge) was named a 2012 “best book” with ABC Religion and Ethics. His third book, For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action (Franciscan), challenges Christians to live with justice and nonviolence toward non-humans. Camosy received the 2012-13 Robert Bryne award from the Fordham Respect Life Club, and was also recently selected for the international working group “Contending Modernities” which attempts to bring secular liberalism, Catholicism, and Islam into dialogue about various difficult ethical issues. He is the founder and co-director of the Catholic Conversation Project and a member of the ethics committee at the Children’s Hospital of New York.
EPPC Senior Fellow Mary Eberstadt explores issues relating to American society, culture, religion, and philosophy. She is the author of several influential books: Adam and Eve after the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution (2012); The Loser Letters: A Comic Tale of Life, Death, and Atheism (2010); and Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs, and Other Parent Substitutes (2005). She is also editor of a 2007 anthology, Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle their Political Journeys. Her latest book is How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization, published by Templeton Press (April 2013).
Mrs. Eberstadt has written for many magazines and newspapers, including National Review, Policy Review, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Times, First Things, The Claremont Review of Books, and the American Spectator.