In a bold new report by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), 11 preeminent Christians—including pastors and theologians as well as scientists and climate advocates—united to offer biblical clarity on what today’s follower of Christ must understand in order to combat the growing climate catastrophe.

Loving the Least of These: Addressing a Changing Environment” lays out the “biblical basis” for urgent environmental action. The link between animal agriculture and environmental damage is undeniable, and the almost 400 million evangelicals around the globe can—and should— commit to addressing it.

In his foreword, NAE President Walter Kim cites a “common calling to glorify God and manifest Christ’s love to the most vulnerable.” Without a doubt, the billions of animals suffering in the satanic labyrinth of industrial-strength cruelty—today’s factory farms—are among those “most vulnerable.” By mobilizing over 40 evangelical denominations as well as thousands of churches and schools across the U.S. to engage in the healing of our “groaning earth,” Pastor Kim acknowledges the biblical responsibility of God’s people to reject behavior, traditions, and industries that destroy His creation.

So how do people of faith work to preserve creation and end the abuse of the most vulnerable? First and foremost, they should no longer consume meat, eggs, dairy, or other animal-derived foods. With a seemingly endless variety of vegan foods readily available—and more being added every day—blindly satiating animal-based appetites rather than choosing mercy and compassion is nothing short of idolatry. PETA Lambs can help you make a positive change with our free vegan starter kits.

Second, activities such as church barbecues, lobster boils, and sausage festivals—even under the guise of outreach and fundraising—demonstrate an unbiblical apathy toward the harm done to the Earth and the sentient animals who are slaughtered. Please ask your church to consider engaging in cruelty-free fundraisers like vegan bake sales instead.

Finally, supporting the rampant corruption of animal-abusing industries is poor stewardship and even worse witness to the world.

The NAE’s plea for Christians to “eat more plant-based foods” is a welcome, albeit overdue, directive. While this phrase may not be front and center in the 60-page report, its impact is huge. Is a debeaked chicken too tiny to matter to the Lord (who notes the sparrow’s fall)? Is the calf cruelly separated from his mother and denied her milk too inconsequential for the creator of the universe? Our God is the God of the small and the champion of the weak, and as Pastor Kim writes, “[T]he vulnerable are most and first on His mind.”

How encouraging that there is now a foothold in the evangelical church for the protection of animals. The NAE joins Pope Francis in taking bold steps to lead believers in caring for God’s precious gifts of this Earth and all life, even the most vulnerable. This report is an answered prayer for animals indeed—but we cannot stop there. Please lift Pastor Kim and the godly writers of this report up in prayer—they surely will face opposition, challenges, and unmerited criticism, as any righteous leaders who challenge the status quo always do. Please also share the good news of the NEA’s report with your church community and consider sharing our vegan starter kits, too!

Remember that the most counter-cultural figure in all of history was Jesus Christ, and His message of love changed the world. Together, my brothers and sisters in Christ, we must heed the call to love the “least of these” and respond to the groans of the world by making compassionate choices, the first of which should be to follow a biblical, cruelty-free lifestyle that honors all God’s creation—a life that moves the needle closer to a Peaceable Kingdom.

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