On March 13, the Toms River Township Council approved a new 7,000 square foot animal shelter as part of a 6.4 million dollar renovation to police headquarters and expansion of the municipal court - related Patch article. Less than one month earlier, the First Assembly of God of Toms River which is located less than 1.5 miles from this newly approved animal shelter, had to withdraw their application to the Township to build a human homeless shelter for our own abused and sick species - related Patch article. Ironically, it was decided that our town’s best interest is to invest millions of dollars in the livelihood of stray cats and dogs while postponing and delaying any resolution or idea to rescue the least among us.
To care for animals is a godly virtue as Proverbs 12:10 says, “The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.” Building an animal shelter is a worthy cause and caring for sick and abused animals is a moral responsibility not to be neglected. However, our homeless neighbors are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27) and when we specifically care for them, we are ultimately caring for Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:31-46). If there is $6.4 million to house animals and incarcerate homeless individuals on a short term basis in the new police headquarters if they commit a crime, then resources must become available to house and rehabilitate them before such actions.
Has our humanistic moral relevancy exalted the care for beasts to a greater level than the care for our brothers? Many members of our community whether in Toms River, Brick, or Berkeley are hesitant to have such shelters because some people in need have serious addictions or domestic violence issues. Sadly, our neighborhoods already have people who struggle with these same issues, but because they have a home, we allow our children to walk past their “homes of addiction and abuse” to get to the school bus each day without a second thought.
I encourage you to visit the facebook page of More to Life Ministry, reaching out to the homeless of Toms River.