On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

PETA wants an animal-friendly translation of the Bible

After hearing that the newest rewrite of the New International Version of the Bible uses gender-inclusive language such as “he or she” instead of “he,” the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have written to the committee that edited the NIV, asking for the next revision to consider the feelings of animals.

Specifically, says PETA, it’s time to refer to animals as “he” or “she” instead of “it.” They are individuals, not objects, said the organization.

PETA wants donkeys indentified as "he" or "she," not "it."


Using such pronouns accurately would be difficult, says a Hebrew scholar. It’s one thing to translate the Bible with care for fidelity to the original manuscripts. It’s quite another thing to start rewriting the Scriptures to reflect modern-day political agendas.

PETA also says the next translation must remove “speciesist” language, which would mean words that are biased toward one species over another.

“Updating the Bible’s language regarding animals would not only reflect modern writing trends but also reinforce the idea that animals are living beings valued by God, not inanimate objects,” says PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich. “Jesus taught us the importance of mercy and compassion, and this update would encourage mercy and compassion for all God’s creatures — including those who have feathers, fins, and fur.”


David Berger, the dean of Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel graduate school of Jewish studies, told CNN News that making such a shift would be awkward given the nature of ancient Hebrew.

“In Hebrew all nouns are gender-specific. So the noun for chair is masculine and the noun for earth is feminine. There’s simply no such thing as a neutral noun,” Berger said. “It’s unusual to have a noun that would indicate the sex of the animal. In Proverbs it says, ‘Look at the ant, O lazy person. See its ways. In Hebrew it’s ‘see her ways.’ That’s because the word for ant in Hebrew happens to be female. It’s not intended to exclude male ants as far as I know. It’s just an accident the Hebrew word happens to be feminine.”

NIV officials had no immediate comment.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kristy S.

    Hi my name is Kristy Schweinfurth at and what I want to say is also it is said, “That God so blessed and loves all the creatures of the earth and told them to go forth and by fruitful and multiply. I rescue Ferrel cats and find them homes myself and I find nothing offensive towards animals whatsoever in the Bible and PITA is just doing this as a publicity stunt as far as I can see.I think they better take a closer look at the Bible.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Pamela


    I believe what Kristy is saying. I think it is a stunt. Rewriting the Bible can and will take away from the meaning. And personally I would not want to mess with GOD s words. HIS WORDS have been the same …yesterday….today and forever.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sherry Williams.

    I think this is ludicrous. I work in a vets office and I love all animals,but for a group to pick on our Lords word is a bit too much. Come on people, get over it,everything can’t be changed to fit your liking.This is so petty that its as if they were having to search for something to complain about.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Debra

    I love animals is well, however changing the word of God to appease animal lovers has carried things too far. Bible is Bible. One should not alter the word of God!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Peggy

    I live in the Virginia Beach VA, just a short drive from PETA’s headquarters. Everything this organization does is for publicity.They have a noble idea, but go about it in outlandish ways. We locals say PETA means People Embarassing Tidewater Area.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lorain Ohio

    PITA, is another acronym for Pain in the,… you finish that sentence. I don’t mean to be crude. But, That is what this group has been to me for at least the past 20 years. They continually are Pulling One publicity stunt after another, taking advantage of the innocent public that loves animals and think they are doing good by giving to PITA. They are wasting their money.
    One example is this Bible stunt, another was the hamburger throwing event at the meat council meeting many years back; Then what good did tossing pig blood on fur wearing humans do? As for the money waste, what is snail mailing a penny in a letter, to thousands of members to encourage them to give! I had a personal encounter with PITA a few years back also, which was helping to write a donation proposal for a local animal shelter and being turned down because we were not Large enough to bring them good publicity. I don’t even listen to them anymore I have been removed from all of their lists. If you want to help our little sister and brother animals, give time and what ever money you can afford to your local ASPCA and Animal Shelter, because you know PITA is NOT helping them.

  • http://Apparentlythey'veonlyreadthenicepartsoftheBible... Butch

    And they’ve missed how God resolved the whole Abraham being asked to sacrifice Issac story (it’s in the very first book, PETA, go look it up).

    And in fact, they’ve probably missed the part, also in the very first book — the very first story in fact — where the Lord says, ” Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Gen 1:26 NIV)

    Seems to me God was pretty clear about animals’ place in the pecking order. And you don’t have to go very deep in the book to find it.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment paul lorenzo

    WHat a bunch of idiots. Do you really think the animals give a hoot, if they are referred to as its? I think this Bruce guy is just blowing words out of his mouth. How can he trully believe that the way we refer to a being will encourage more mercy, or compassion towards them???? If one is trully a Christian it is without doubt all are equal in the eyes of GOD. A word change isn’t going to make anyone respect animal life more or less. Maybe this group of people is just bored with life, so they sit around finding fault with everything. Like my comment. THey will probably spend more energy laughing at the grammatical errors than they will trying to understand an opposing point of veiw. If the trend of modernizing old writings continues, in a few more generations the original meanings will no longer exist. Paul Lorenzo

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Tom Kemp

    I don’t even have to read the article to make my comment. Tell PETA to start their own religion and write their own Bible. Problem solved. Unbelievable!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment me

    this is stupid!!!PETA get over yourselves…just like it says in the bible..thank you Butch..not everything can be rewritten to please all..then we would have to change history books as well and that wld be lying..leave the bible alone maybe you PETA slh go to church more..or talk to a priest or father about it!!

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