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 dennis

    i agree with Debra, i love animals also but i’ve yet to hear one complain about how they’re portrayed in the Bible. i wonder if anyone from PETA has read Deuteronomy 4:2 or Proverbs 30:6

  • Marvin

    God did NOT give us his word to justify what we want or have done. It is, in reality a love letter for us to be able to grow into the good character that HE wishes each of us to be. HIS word is immuteable and changing it to meet our personal wishes will only lead to our ultimate condemnation and obliteration. This country is rapidly approaching both because we are giving in to the political agendas of groups like PETA and others that would like the Bible to justify THEIR actions.

    I think PETA is indeed a group of publicity seekers. They really should read Revelation 22:18 and 19. God DOES love ALL creatures. However, He DID creat man (both male and female) in HIS image.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment grumpiestoldman

    April Fools!!!

    Hi Dianne C.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment oks

    I’m a Christian AND an animal lover- Does anyone here realize that MEN wrote the Bible? it has been altered and changed over the years so much to satisfy the personal agendas of the men in charge at the time. How can you expect GOD’s Pure love and true WORD to come through IMPERFECT men who wrote the Bible???
    PS. If you’re a Christian, you go by what CHRIST said, which is the NEW TESTAMENT- Jesus came to make amends to the Jewish ways, which is the Old Testament.

  • Rob Kerby, Senior Editor


    Well, it does read like an April’s Fool prank. However, the story is true — generated by PETA about a week ago after the newly revised New International Version of the Bible was released.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mary

    I love all animals. I volunteer for two shelters and a rescue. I am part of three different groups who search for lost pets and return them to their owners. Having saying that, my opinion is PETA is full of self-serving, and in some cases evil, attention seekers. They have helped get some animal protection laws passed, but they have actually harmed animals in their obsession for publicity. And, they want to place animals over humans. They have become a cult. There is no way sane people should be subjected in any way to their extremes. Animals are not treated badly in the Bible. PETA should go hide out in their own little camp and write up pamphlets according to their own beliefs and distribute them to their own followers.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment oks

    Also, regarding Butch’s comment on pecking order…
    Humans establish “pecking orders” and hierarchies. God is perfect and every thing that exists has HIM in it, so how can one creature be better than the other?? God said how you treat the LEAST OF YOUR BROTHERS, you treat me. Who do you think he is referring to? Animals! Because every man is equal

    Luke 12:6
    “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight.” (NIV)

    Matthew 6:26
    “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (ESV)

    Isaiah 11: 6-9
    “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (NIV)

    Exodus 23:12a
    “Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest..” (NKJV)

    Proverbs 12:10
    “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” (ESV)

    Deuteronomy 25:4
    “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.” (ESV)

    Jeremiah 25:4
    “How long will the ground be dry and the pasturelands parched?
    The birds and animals are dead and gone. And all of this happened because the people are so sinful.
    They even brag, “God can’t see the sins we commit.” (CEV)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jeni Mac

    Is this a joke?

  • Rob Kerby, Senior Editor

    Nope. True. Generated by PETA themselves.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Misty

    THis is the dumbest thing I’ve read in awhile. They are animals, get over it PETA!

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