The recent trophy killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by an American dentist has enraged the world. Social media has exploded with demands to bring the killer to justice and ban hunting entirely. I am an animal lover in every sense of the word and share in the anger that so many others feel. Yet as angry as I am over the senseless slaughter of one of the world’s most majestic creatures, I am far more horrified at the gruesome beheading of Christians around the world by radical extremists. Planned Parenthood, with the recently released videos admitting to the dismembering of unborn babies and the selling of their body parts, is sickening. Yet to me there is a disproportionate level of outrage among these issues. In a recent discussion with some of my colleagues I began to search for the reasons behind this imbalance. I found several:
1. Even though there are raging debates on trophy hunting, animals are generally considered a less controversial topic than humans. Typically, unless attacking a human or for the purpose of controlling over population of a species, their killings seem senseless. Whereas with persons, arrogance has divided them into groups and subgroups, each being assigned a specific value. Those adults who do not conform to our personal ideals or to society’s dictates have lesser worth than those who comply. One who is different, has opposing views, or one who has the potential to harm us is demoted in significance. The unborn are offensively considered by some to have minimal value as they deem them not yet human. And are we more upset at the murder of an attractive teenage girl than one who appears to be an alcoholic homeless man living on the streets? Even in the animal kingdom, those whom we consider to be more valuable evoke a stronger response when murdered than those whom we assign a lesser significance. The grandeur of a leopard, for example, may trigger greater outrage than perhaps a less appealing warthog.
2. Social media is inundated with images of slaughtered animals. These sickening photos make the issue far more real and linger in our memories long after it is no longer considered newsworthy. If one were to post actual photos of a human who’s head was severed from their torso or the individual blood-stained limbs and tissues of an unborn baby, people would demand the sites quickly remove them – far too graphic to be shown publicly. The old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words, certainly holds true in this case as does out of sight out of mind. The more powerful the image the more intense the emotion it triggers. Animals receive more coverage; hence more outrage.
3. If one is attacked by a vicious animal or deranged human, self-defense is a rational and universally acceptable response. However, in each of the aforementioned instances those murdered posed no threat and were in fact considered harmless at that time. The thought of such a grave injustice being imposed on an innocent life is appalling to most members of the human species. It is a senseless act without provocation or justification. And in some cases it can subsequently evoke fear for one’s own safety: if someone can take it upon themselves to gruesomely slaughter another, what guarantee is there that my life, or the life of a loved one, won’t be next?
Humans have lost all regard for all life, both human and animal. All life is sacred to God for each is an expression of His love and goodness. Furthermore He resides in all of His creations. To deliberately destroy one of God’s handiwork is an abomination against the Divine.
So take your anger, take your outrage and use it for a productive and universal good. Take a stand for life, all life, for all has value. Life belongs to the One who created it and in that regard God has exclusive dominion over it. Be respectful – treat all of God’s creations as the sacred gifts they are.
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