ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The pastor at Anchorage First Free Methodist Church was mystified. Why was the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals chastising him? No animals are harmed in the church’s holiday nativity display. In fact, animals aren’t used at all.
People, however, do dress the parts – Mary, Joseph, the wise men, etc. The volunteers stand shivering at a manger on the church lawn in a silent tribute to Christmas.
The Rev. Jason Armstrong was confused by an e-mail this week from PETA, which admonished him for subjecting animals "to cruel treatment and danger," by forcing them into roles in the church’s annual manger scene.
"We’ve never had live animals, so I just figured this was some spam thing," Armstrong said. "It’s rough enough on us people standing out there in the cold. So we’re definitely not using animals."
Well that would be a rather strange bullet to have in your resume.
Seems the confusion started with the church’s choice of phrase. PETA flagged Free Methodist’s display as a "living nativity," and indeed, that’s how the church describes it on its Web site.
To PETA, that means animals.
Wow if this mistake doesn’t say everything about PETA nothing does. Exactly how dangerous is it for an animal to get a gig at a Nativity scene in the first place? Is their a high incidence of being crushed by a Creshe or accidents involving swaddling clothes? Where does the cruel part come in? Perhaps it is forcing animals to act and not getting paid to scale. Are they giving them their motivations first before thrusting them on stage. Are Cows and sheep always getting type-cast as cows and sheep?