I like animals. Really, I do. My family has a cat named Stripey. But, I'm beginning to notice an alarming trend. I don't know if it's just something going on here in my town or if it's a thing all around. I'm noticing that some people are placing animal rights above human rights. This might be controversial to some people- but I'm not apologizing. I think it needs to be said.
I guess the part that made me mad about this topic is a recent photo posted on Facebook. You can view it here if you like. A cat in the area was shot with an arrow (it's fine now). There are a few things about this that bother me about this situation.
A. The Humane Society and people commenting refuse to accept the possibility that this could be an accident. Um, hello. We live in Alabama. It is hunting season (or close to it). It is quite possible that someone accidentally shot the cat and didn't even know it. Before you judge this person as being a horrible person that should be "hung up and shot at with arrows", find out the real story. Yes, maybe it was intentional. Maybe it was someone who finds joy in torturing animals. But-consider for one moment- that maybe it wasn't.
B. It's a cat. In Genesis, when God was creating the world, he created man to "reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground (Genesis 1:26)". When I read this verse, it leads me to believe that the sanctity of human life is far more important than the life of an animal. Does this mean I believe in abusing animals? No. Of course not. But, I think it is important to realize the value of a human life in comparison to that of an animal. When I was reading through the comments on the picture, many people were giving ideas of what they thought should be done to that person. Giving them "a lesson they won't forget", "tying them to a tree and using them for target practice", "hung in a tree and shot with arrows", etc. Is that uplifting? Does it bring glory to God when we talk about torturing someone? No. Do we know the facts? No. Until we know the facts, we shouldn't judge. And- even then- it's a cat. A cat. An animal in which we reign over. I don't believe that this person -even if it was intentional- should be tortured for what was done. I'm not even sure jail time is an appropriate punishment. Does it help the situation? No. Not really. It doesn't address the underlying problem. If this was intentional, why was it done? Are there underlying anger problems? Do they have a mental disorder? Is there something that can be done to help address the underlying problem and preserve the sanctity of human life? Can we treat them with respect? Can we love them? And furthermore- why do we assume that it was a male that did this? Why must we prejudge this person?
C. Why does this cat get more pity than the person killed over there on the South Side? Or wherever your "bad side of town" is? Yes. I'm being general here. But think about it. When we hear about someone getting shot on "that side of town", we tend to believe that it is there own fault. That because of their race...they don't really matter. Why is no one outraged about the shootings that go on? The violence? The gangs? The drugs? Why do we sit in our pretty little houses on Facebook saying "Poor kitty. Whoever shot it should be tortured." and yet when we read in the news about a teenager being shot in a not-so-nice neighborhood we think "They deserved it. They would have ended up in jail anyways. It's probably better that they die. It's better that they're not here to cause violence in our community." Why do we treat a cat better than a human? Where is the sanctity of human life here? Where did we forget that "reigning over the animals" means that humans are more important? Where did we forget to love our neighbor?
I'm not saying I have it all figured out- I don't. But, I'm beginning to see the injustices in our communities. We don't mind letting our youth groups go play with puppies at the human society- but going to the South Side to love on some people? Or the West Side? Never! It's too dangerous! It's too risky! Are you crazy? We are judging people based on their socioeconomic background. It's easy to love a cat. It's harder to love a brother that lives a different lifestyle. Yet, sometimes God asks us to get out of our comfort zone and embrace the hard-to-love people. And- I'm positive that he values human life. After all- He created us in His image- not the cat.
That's all I'm saying about this. For now at least. I won't get into how upset I am that it's easier to adopt a child than a cat and all that. And I won't get into how I'm upset certain council people want to cut funding to our schools to give to the Humane Society. But, next time, when you get outraged over the treatment of an animal, remember the person. Remember the value of human life. And ask how you would want to be treated. And when you're reading the newspaper and you come across an article about a shooting on "that side of town"- remember the value of human life before you judge. Love God. Love people. Nothing else matters.