Christianity Harmful to Animals, Says Animal Rights Godfather By Marc Morano CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer July 01, 2002 (CNSNews.com) - Princeton University Professor Peter Singer, dubbed the 'godfather' of animal rights, says Christianity is a "problem" for the animal rights movement. Singer, author of the book "Animal Liberation" and a professor of bioethics at Princeton University's Center for Human Values, criticized American Christianity for its fundamentalist strain that takes the Bible too "literally" and promotes "speciesism." He defined speciesism as the belief that being a member of a certain species "makes you superior to any other being that is not a member of that species." In an address to the national Animal Rights 2002 conference in McLean, Va., on Saturday, Singer also reiterated his controversial position that a "severely disabled" infant may be killed up to 28 days after its birth if the parents deem the baby's life is not worth living. "I think that mainstream Christianity has been a problem for the animal movement," Singer told about 100 people attending a workshop entitled "When Is Killing OK? (Attacking animals? Unwanted dogs & cats? Unwanted or deformed fetuses?)" He singled out the "more conservative mainstream fundamentalist views" that "want to make a huge gulf between humans and animals" as being the most harmful to the concept of animal liberation. Singer rejected what he termed "the standard view that most people hold" -- that "just being human makes life special." He told one questioner from the audience, "I hope that you don't think that just being a biological member of the species homo sapiens means that you do have a soul and being a member of some other species means they don't. I think that would trouble me." "I am an atheist, I know that is an ugly word in America," he added. Singer pointed out that the Judeo-Christian ethic teaches not only that humans have souls and animals don't, but that humans are made in the image of God and that God gave mankind dominion over the animals. "All three taken together do have a very negative influence on the way in which we think about animals, " he said. He explained that his mission is to challenge "this superiority of human beings," and he conceded that his ideas go very much against the grain of a country that mostly still believes in human superiority.