Dr. Richard Land

Fido First?

May 26, 2015

Southern Evangelical Seminary President Dr. Richard Land Says Poll Equating Animal and Human Rights Shows Loss of Moral Compass

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—PETA must be happy. According to a new Gallup poll, more Americans than ever before believe animals should have the same rights as humans. The poll found 32 percent of Americans support equal rights for animals, up from 25 percent in 2008. Meanwhile, 62 percent of Americans believe animals should have some protections but can still be used to benefit humans.

“The growing belief that animals should be on par with humans when it comes to rights raises the timeless questions, ‘What is a human being?’ and ‘Is a human being a different kind of creation?’—questions that take on increased importance given not only this survey, but also the growing trend of robots taking on human-like characteristics and activities,” said Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) President Dr. Richard Land.

“For centuries, society—including our laws and our cultural mores—has been based on a belief that humans are distinct creations. Indeed, our own Declaration of Independence establishes the premise that humans are ‘created’ and ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.’ One of our responsibilities as human beings created in God’s image is to care for animal life. Proverbs 12:10 clearly says that the righteous man regards the life of his animal. However, when society loses the ability to make meaningful distinctions between human life and animal life, it doesn’t so much elevate animals, but rather it inevitably devalues the unique character of human life.”

Land pointed out specifically the irony that while there are laws imposing penalties for destroying unborn turtles, outcries arise over efforts to protect unborn babies—a clear indication of the loss of a societal moral compass that can make meaningful distinctions between the relative value of human beings and animals.

“Should our treatment of animals be humane? Yes, absolutely. For example, I am the proud owner of what may be the world’s most spoiled-rotten German Shepherd. However, when we begin to place the lives of animals on equal par—at that point, with the lives of human beings, we have reached a position that is logically defenseless, as we are advocating, essentially for either dehumanizing human beings or humanizing animals.”

SES delves into the questions of the nature of humanity through its Ethics of Emerging Technology initiative, which specifically evaluates the nature of humans in light of technological advancements.  

Land recently taught a summer module, “A Christian Perspective of Ethics,” which asked and answered such questions as “Is a human being a separate creation of God and different in kind or merely degree from the animal kingdom?”

“Our beliefs regarding the nature of humanity have far-reaching implications,” Land continued. “This isn’t simply a question of whether Fido should be humanely cared for, but of whether as a society we are moving towards a scenario in which Fido will have equal claim to medical resources and legal protections that human beings currently possess.”

SES is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.

SES’s 22nd annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics will be hosted by Calvary Church in Charlotte on Oct. 16-17, 2015, with the theme, “Ideas Have Consequences: The Bigger the Idea, the Bigger the Consequence.” In addition to Dr. Land, confirmed speakers include Josh McDowell, Dr. Jay Richards, Dr. Hugh Ross, Dr. Norman Geisler and Dr. Paige Patterson.

Land is featured in his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on 200 stations on the American Family Radio Network and 100 stations on the Bott Radio Network. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, debuted in January on the NRB Network, and airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. In May, it will begin airing on the Total Living Network, reaching nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area. For more information about stations, times, downloads and more, visit www.ses.edu/about-us/bringing-every-thought-captive.

Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”

Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.

Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked No. 1 for its General Christian Apologetics Graduate Program by TheBestSchools.org’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.” For more information, visit the SES web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH.


For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716or 610-584-1096 ext. 102, or Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.

Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. The accredited Christian college and seminary in Matthews, N.C., offers a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Programs can be completed through residence in the Charlotte area or online. The award-winning education at SES is distinctively Christian and focused on evangelism and world-engaging defense of the Christian faith—Christian Apologetics.