A couple days ago, I wrote about the PETA lawsuit, quickly dismissed, brought against Sea World on behalf of five Orca whales because of their “enslavement.” This extreme desire to treat animals with the same care and respect as humans has the effect of degrading humans. We are, the thinking goes, not more special than the whale or gorilla or titmouse.
The Bible makes it clear that humans are special because we, of all creation, have uniquely been made in the image of God. Our Creator Himself breathed into Man the breath of life and he became a living being — a soul, a self, a person.
But the PETA folks would have us be less.
What’s ironic, at the same time, our culture has weighed Man morally and found us to be good. Ask anyone. Man, according to the majority of people in Western society, anyway, believes Man to be innately good. I suppose some might say dogs are good, and cats, horses, dolphins. But at some point, I think most people would hold back on calling mosquitoes good, or fleas or cockroaches or termites.
The truth is, animals aren’t acting out of a moral nature. We call some animals good because we find them to be beautiful or useful or companionable or admirable. Others we find to be a nuisance, destructive, harmful, disease-carrying, and suddenly the brotherhood of all living beings seems a little less desirable.
If fact, Man alone is a moral being, and sadly, we are not good. Yes, we bear the image of God, but we act out of the flaw in our character — the very flaw that fiction writers know they must include in those that people their stories if they are to seem realistic. All we have to do is look around us, and we see the flaws of Mankind. Corporate greed? That’s Man acting from his flawed nature. Welfare fraud? That’s Man acting from his flawed nature. Illegal immigration? Same problem, as is pornography, sex trafficking, adultery, extortion, murder, burglary … Need I go on?
Man is not good. Those who ignore all of the above and insist Mankind is too, good, prove by their stubbornness and willingness to lie to themselves, that all of us are flawed.
So we have this upside down thinking going when it comes to the most basic question — who are we? Man is just another animal, some say. But Man is good, some of the same people say.
But there’s more. While those lawyers were suing Sea World on behalf of the whales, another group were doing all they could to keep “a woman’s right to choose” in place. In simple terms, they work overtime against any effort to chip away at the Supreme Court ruling that declared abortion legal.
Back in 1973, of course, the argument centered on the issue of when life begins. Pregnancy, the women’s rights movement taught, was at the sole prerogative of the woman, because at stake was her body, and hers alone. Inside her was tissue, a fetus, certainly not a separate life. To be alive, that embryo would have to be viable. Until abortion doctors wanted to finish a botched job outside the womb. Then it didn’t matter if the squirmy tissue was living and breathing. Abortion was legal, so there. Partial birth abortions — keep those legal. States that didn’t want abortion within their borders — out of luck. No bending on this issue even though now virtually everyone understands that the fetus is alive, that this is a separate person growing in the womb. An unprotected person, stripped of all rights, without a voice or any chance to do his or her own choosing.
But the irony doesn’t stop. Medical science has determined that certain things a women does when she is pregnant can have harmful effects on the baby she is carrying — things like smoking, drinking caffeine and alcohol. Other things are helpful like exercise and playing certain music or talking to the unborn baby. Pregnant women, then, are expected to do all the right things to as part of prenatal care and have been held for child abuse for doing the things that jeopardize the health and well-being of the unborn. That’s right. A woman can kill the child but not injure it by smoking.
Our thinking is backwards. We make these laws asking the wrong questions — most often, what do I want or what will benefit me? Some people might even go so far as to think, what will benefit society? Few, it seems, are asking, what is morally right?
Is it morally right to cheat on your income taxes? Is it morally right to steal from your employer? Is it morally right for CEOs of failed businesses to take millions of dollars in bonuses? Is it morally right for a congressman to receive thousands of dollars from a lobbyist he will be working with to fashion upcoming legislation?
But no. We won’t create law that way because we have backwards thinking. Man is good … though an animal … with no right to be born should his mother choose to terminate his life while he’s completely helpless and dependent on her.
In the process the image of God is being so marred it’s hardly recognizable.