While out and about on a recent summer afternoon adventure, I was thrown out of my pleasant-weather euphoria when I turned a corner and ran into a group of animal rights activists. They were standing there with pictures of distressed-looking cows emblazoned with slogans like "Meat is murder" and "A hamburger stops a beating heart."
Um, pass the peas?
It's sort of like Moroni, who, while negotiating the release of prisoners of war, tells evil foe Ammoron that he is a child of hell. Good one. "Dear Ammoron, you are a child of hell. Release the prisoners or I will destroy you. Kisses, from Moroni." Probably not the best way to get on Ammoron's good side.
Similarly, waving a picture of a tortured cow in my face is probably going to annoy me more than it is going to convince me to order tofu for lunch.
The problem with equating a Fourth of July barbecue with a holocaust is just that; equating. If someone can say, with a straight face, that chomping down on a hamburger is the same as sending a human being to the gas chamber, well, then, we have a problem.
It is about this problem that syndicated columnist, Dennis Prager, is speaking when he tells of an informal survey he has been conducting over his thirty years of speaking engagements. He asks high-schoolers whom they would save if both their dog and a stranger were to fall out of a boat and begin drowning. In all his years of asking this question, two-thirds of respondents say either that they would choose to save their dog over the human stranger or that they don't know what they would do. Two-thirds!
They don't know the stranger. They are attached to their dog. Their dog is "family", unlike the stranger.
I don't know about you, but this scares the dickens out of me. If we are on such a slippery slope that we can no longer see that a human life is inherently more valuable than the life of a dog, I want to get off the mountain before we slide the rest of the way down.
Perhaps our problem is rooted in the fact we were all weaned on a steady diet of Disney movies full of talking, thinking, dreaming animals. So we go through our lives thinking chickens are unhappy at being stuck in cages when all they are really thinking is "Bwak bwak bwak bwak bwak. Lunch. Bwak."
To say that the life of a chicken is as valuable as the life of a human (which we do when we equate eating a chicken sandwich to committing an act of murder) is completely off-base, not to mention frightening. This is not to say we should abuse animals; we should respect all of God's creations. But there is nothing disrespectful or abusive about using animals for their intended purposes, among which are food and clothing.
Militant vegetarianism is just a symptom of a larger cultural problem; if one does not believe that human beings are created in the image of God for a great and glorious purpose (i.e., human life is inherently more valuable than animal life), all life is improperly valued.
And that's how we end up with abortion on the one hand and tofu-only on the other.
What a world we live in.