Mobilizing the Christian Tradition: True Patriots and the Sacrificial Spirit of Christ

  • Chien-hui Li
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)


This chapter considers the Christian tradition, the influence of which deeply penetrated nineteenth-century’s social and political life as well as impinging upon the nineteenth-century animal protection movement. Instead of focusing on the major theologians and canonical texts, as in the conventional history of ideas, I examine the initiatives taken by laity and clergy within the animal protection movement itself in relation to the Christian tradition. I present the Christian faith as the central source of identification, justification, and inspiration for the majority of the people in the anti-cruelty and anti-vivisection movements and illustrate how these people actively drew upon the resources in the Christian tradition to meet their various mobilizing tasks and objectives. By appropriating theological concepts such as Creationism, human dominion over animals, the benevolence of God, the sacrificial spirit of Christ, as well as anti-science rhetoric and critiques that were current in the wider controversies concerning religion and science in society, animal protectionists not only turned Christianity into a central cultural force in the movement, but also recreated a positive Christian sub-tradition of humanity toward animals in nineteenth-century Britain.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chien-hui Li
    • 1
  1. 1.National Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan

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