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Lopsided Outrage

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2015 by andelino

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We’ve seen lots of commentary on the lopsided outrage over the inhumane death of Cecil the Lion and how the incident has “inspired” far higher levels of “fervor and indignation” than the brutal systemic “barbarism” of the #PPSellsBabyParts controversy or the tragically unjust murder of Samuel Dubose.

At first, I was inclined to shrug off this claim, thinking, “You can feel pointed grief about one while still feeling empathy about the other.”

Or, “the facts of the Cecil case are perhaps clearer to more people.”

Or, “How can we be sure this imbalance actually exists?”

But alas, the social media “rants” and media “non-developments” of the past few weeks have only “continued” to confirm that the “reaction” we are witnessing is, indeed, “stemming” from some kind of distorted “social, moral, and spiritual” imagination.

This isn’t just about what is or isn’t “bubbling” up in the news cycle. It’s about what’s “brewing,” and in some cases, “festering” deep inside our hearts.

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Far from being simply an “imbalance” in attention, the armchair animal rights “slacktivists” routinely claim that the “death” of a lion is, in fact, more “tragic and unjust” than the rest, that “animals are different” because they can’t “defend” themselves, as opposed to “unborn” humans or an “unarmed” person.

They claim that killing an “animal” via the hunt is somehow more cruel than killing “babies” for the cause of “science” and “progress” or killing a person for the cause of “justice.”

The “irrationality” of those arguments is glaring, but even more “troubling” is the perverse “immorality” of the philosophy of “life” behind it.

God loves all his “creatures” and we ought to be careful to “care” for animals and be humane and faithful stewards, but on matters such as this, the basic “ethical” assumption simply can’t be “humans = animals,” or in the disturbing case of those others, “animals > humans.”

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Lion, elephants and buffalo on Robert Mugabe’s 91st birthday menu.

Perhaps the more helpful “corollary” to the Cecil affair is Zimbabwe itself, where Robert Mugabe rules with an “oppressive” hand, overseeing an “authoritarian” regime distinguished by “greed, torture, bloodshed, and defunct economic trickery.”

Real “human” people in Cecil’s own backyard are “suffering” tremendous pain, whether from “poverty, AIDS, prostitution, or the severe government intimidation” that perpetuates the cycle.

And yet it’s the particular “death” of a particular lion that “stirs” the masses. “Why?” we might ask?

Perhaps it’s more “convenient” to care about and confront an “incident” that doesn’t involve our fellow brothers and sisters and the “awful” things we do to each other.

Perhaps it’s less “intimidating” to pounce in the “frenzy and vent” Buzz Feed induced “angst” when we’re joined by a “foaming” media mob that’s “united” from Fox News to HuffPo to Daily Kos.

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Perhaps it’s easier to “care” for a distant lion than the “neighbor” in our own backyard, who is far more likely to “wrong, harm and hurt” us, then to challenge the “limits of our love and the depth of our selfishness.”

Any outrage can be “justified,” but as our culture supposedly evolves, our “passions” appear ever more “narrow,” ever more “disordered,” and ever more “sourced” from dirty, self-indulging, self-serving streams.

For whatever reason, it’s easier for us to elevate the dignity of a “lion” than it is to recognize, protect, and praise the dignity of a “man, woman, and child,” regardless of his or her country, class, race, age, criminality, or self-construed “viability.”

We are “created and called” to be image-bearers of God, and to “defend” the image and dignity of our neighbors — “to love, affirm, and relish their beauty, worth, and transcendent destiny.”

We should let that be the primary “driver” of our care, concern, and stewardship. Who knows. If we would stop averting our eyes from the “hunting” of humans, the excessive “pursuit” of lions may just take care of itself.

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