Friday, 14 November 2008

Animal "rights" sentimentalism: irrational and often lethal

Coochy, coochy, coo - nice sharky warky!

Mr Shark, having just painted the Sistine chapel, written Dante's Inferno and built Chartres Cathedral, is on his way to file suit at the US Supreme Court in defence of his "right" not to have his piece of the ocean trespassed upon by man.

Err...

The debate on so-called "animal rights" continues - and plenty of good people are falling for the sentimental and irrational arguments with which the animal liberationist revolutionaries try to deceive people.

There is simply no teaching of the Church that confers rights upon animals and plenty that say the opposite. Animal rights is an entirely invented and modern concept that has no basis in Christian doctrine - or truth - whatsoever.

Thus, to pretend that animals have rights is to be in disagreement with God, the Creator of all creation, including animals.

If an animal had a "right" then it would have to have at least the potential ability to enforce that right - but it can never do so because animals are not rational creatures.

The fact that one finds one's cat or dog cuddly or "nice" does not confer rights on them.

Indeed, it is the argument of the animal liberationists that creatures have the right to life only if they are "wanted" and thus that humans can be discarded if they are not wanted i.e. if they are no longer "cuddly" or "nice".

Silly sentimentalising plays straight into the hands of this extremely odious ideology, just as all those intensely silly people in the 1920s (women as well as men) fell for the odious nonsense that Hitler spewed forth. They exchanged logic and rationality for woolly sentiment and irrational emotional feeling.

Not wanted?
Then, according to animal liberationists - like vegetarian Adolf Hitler - you have no rights!

Look what the result was: the utter horror of the death camps and vile experiments on human beings.

On the other hand, human beings do have obligations toward God's creation and are obliged not to abuse God's creation, including animals, such as is happening on a vast scale in all too many factory farms that produce genetically-modified animals for use in fast-food outlets.

That is a serious abuse of God's creation and should certainly be banned. It is bad for humans: morally, intellectually, spiritually and digestively.

But man's obligations towards creation do not create "rights" for animals and any attempt to argue for such "rights" is inevitably incoherent. Why stop at baby seals or horses or cats or dogs? If they have rights then why not poisonous spiders, rats or even bacteria?

There is no logical reason to stop at one's favourite pet, or animals that one finds "cute", like baby seals, save that they are "wanted" (because cute) and so we are back to having rights only when "wanted" and no rights when "unwanted" - the classic argument for abortion and euthanasia.


A monster croc - cute, cuddly, "nice" and friendly???

The only solution is that humans have rights and animals do not, but that humans have obligations toward God's creation.

Take Rodeo, for example.

Every time a horse is broken in it requires a type of "Rodeo" since someone has to ride the horse until it is tamed. It is, rather, a question of how it is done.

It can be done cruelly (which is usually an ineffective way of doing it) or it can be done sympathetically, which is usually a more effective way. But there will very often be bucking and resistance from the horse, even for the best and cleverest of horse-tamers.


 
Rodeo and horse-breaking are not necessarily cruel

No-one can rationally suggest that the age-old practice of "breaking-in" or taming a horse is "very cruel".

Moreover, animals attack and eat each other. They often do so very savagely. It's a fact of life. Indeed, that is another difference between men and animals - animals are naturally savage, men are not (although they can become so if they choose).

Animals have to be tamed or contained. That is their natural condition. It is not cruel or savage for men to tame animals nor, indeed, to hunt them and eat them. Indeed, God made the animals for our use - as pets, for work, for food and, indeed, also, for their simplicity.

A wild cat or dog is by no means "cuddly" or "nice". However, they do not choose to be wild, as some men do. That is because they cannot choose at all since they are not rational beings. Thus they cannot have "rights".

A man who chooses to be wild can have his rights curtailed but, since he remains a rational being (however wild or sinful), he never loses all his rights. But an animal is not rational and so cannot have rights at all, wild or tame.

No amount of silly sentimentality can overcome the facts of nature. Indeed, it can often lead to dangerous consequences as happens when silly sentimentalists think they can tame wild animals by lovey-dovey, sweet-talking to them, as if they were rational creatures.

Some foolish people have even attempted to do so and have got themselves and others killed or maimed into the bargain.

Try hugging a grizzly bear - silly sentimentality can be lethal!

One simply has to face the facts of life: silly sentimentality can be lethal - literally.

...

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always argue that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. What responsibilities do animals have promoting the common good and exactly how do they fulfill them

Jeff said...

It's just cruelty and neglect that make sharks savage like that. If they were only raised in a more nurturing environment with more opportunities for educational growth and a diet with less polyunsaturated fat their aggressiveness would soon be mitigated...

Subsidized shark day care is the obvious solution and I hope the financial turmoil will not prevent our new President from turning his attention to it as soon as possible.

michaleenflynn52 said...

Excellent entry.
I think you would very much enjoy a book called Adam's Task, by Vicki Hearne. Check it out, and than you for the blog!

Tribunus said...

Thanks all!

Trib

Fred Preuss said...

There was an American naturalist who did, in fact, live among grizzly bears, hugging several. Unfortunately, he hugged one one day that was both very large and not at all comfortable being hugged and had his neck bitten through.
Not to worry: PETA claims that it was the steroids and pollutants in the water that caused the bear to act out. Normally they wouldn't.
No big rush to get out into the woods and hug by Ingrid Newkirk, though-at least not yet.

John Gilheany said...

It's a shame that your article begins with such patronising nonsense when it's largely well argued - whereas so many Catholics today have hardly bothered to even consider the moral mess that constitutes the Christian relationship with creation.

(So they never get past the smug sarcasm and contemporary Catholicsm has next to nothing to offer this debate as a general rule.)

"There is simply no teaching of the Church that confers rights upon animals and plenty that say the opposite. Animal rights is an entirely invented and modern concept that has no basis in Christian doctrine - or truth - whatsoever."

Well, there is certainly a desperate paucity of Church teaching on animals and has been during the massive rise in animal exploitation of recent decades to which you have (thankfully) touched upon. However the 'modern' animal rights/liberation/protection movement - which to some extent occupies the vacuum left by the ethical inertia/indifference/hostility of the Churches - was foreshadowed by nineteenth century organisations and whether Catholics today like it or not; among the irrationalists, sentamentalists and doubtless worse there are coherent and compassionate individuals who have responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Cardinal Manning side-stepped the whole issue of 'rights' in Victorian Britain but became the foremost Anti-Vivisectionist of his time and Cardinal Newman shared his humanitarian convictions.

Sentamentalists or Irrational? - you may wish to surf the web and perhaps modify your criticism of moral revulsion towards animal abuse in the future...

It may be too much for the Churches to recognise the obvious right of God's creatures to have their existence treated with enough respect for people to stop exploiting them for the worldly satisfaction of consuming their tasty flesh, for example.

(After all, we're supposedly above such savage instincts yet the law of the jungle usually becomes a moral reference book for human behaviour the moment that authentic respect for non-human beings is considered!)

It's also difficult to support the notion that animals are "irrational" given that everything they consider embarking upon is for sensible reasons whereas humans are halfway towards wrecking the only inhabitable planet within our reach.

As a Catholic member of the Christian Vegetarian Association (UK)this type of stumbleupon is nothing new to me but there are plenty of concerned individuals, in tune with their moral sensibilities who have consigned Christianity to the dustbin of history.

It's only unfortunate that they've taken so much gold away with them whilst many of those that remain are not only unaware of their destructive witness but content to exacerbate the process every year.

Barry Miles said...

I am an Anglican Christian who actively campaigns against abortion . But I'm with Abraham Lincoln : "Human rights and animal rights - that is the way of the whole man". The true quality of mercy is not selective. I hope you’ll make room for my long comment, because I’m trying to go beyond superficial slogans, and it takes space! Where I make theological references to Genesis, I have tried to use language which accommodates spiritual reality to both creationist and evolutionary views.

It is a myth that Hitler was a vegetarian. He was a faddy health food fanatic who did sometimes eat meat. He also supported experiments on animals and animals were slaughtered in billions for food in his regime, both of which you seem to recommend. Stalin, Pol Pot, Ghengis Khan, Robert Mugabe and all the other ghastlies of history were/are all meat eating humans who had no objection to animal abuse. So when we want to make comparisons, we need to pick the right ones. Ghandi, John Wesley and William Booth (founder Salvation Army) were veggies, for example.

You obviously believe in some sort of humane treatment of animals, but I think your understanding of their value and purpose owes more to the Greek influences of Aristotle and Aquinas than the Bible, as is the case with much RC scholastic theology. Animals were not made for us to use (nowhere said in the Bible): they were made for God's glory and enjoyment and as companions to humans, and God's intention was no killing - cf Genesis 1, 29-30 and Isaiah 11, 6-9. Man's sin (aka The Fall) messed up God’s initial intentions.

The current concept and terminology of human rights isn't very old or Biblical either: it's a secular concept about 200 years old based on social contract, which Church Establishments at first resisted (e.g. on slavery) and then accepted when nearly everyone else had. For a Christian, human rights are rooted in God’s creation of us, His sustenance, redemption and concern for our welfare. But all this also applies to animals, and the Bible often refers to them as part of the worshipping (in their way) community too (e.g. Psalms and Revelation 5). Proverbs 12, 10 says that the “righteous” man cares for animals but the “wicked” are cruel to them. Whether you call it rights or duties, that’s pretty heavy stuff. I go with the Bible's take on the purpose and value of animals, even though the initial vision has been marred by our fall. I would recommend the works of the Revd Professor Andrew Linzey (Oxford University), where he bases both human and animal rights on the concept of “theos rights”, not on the work of non-Christian political theorists.

Why all the references to animals’ behaviour on the blog, as if this were relevant? We are made in the image of God, which means we should behave better. It seems that being in the image of God is used as an excuse to abuse the creation: in fact, it’s the reason we shouldn’t. The people mocking animal savagery on the blog need to remember its origin: compare the intended harmonious human-animal relations of Genesis 1 with God’s prediction that they will be terrified of us because of the Fall in Genesis 9 - in the sense that human sin messed up God’s intention for the Creation, we made them that way.

Congratulations on the Holocaust picture. People do not always understand the similarities between the systematic slaughter of Jews and others on the pretence of their inferiority and the continuing systematic institutional violence to animals based on the claim of their inferiority (you mention factory farms, for instance). Do you know the book “Eternal Treblinka”, much praised by a Jewish survivor of the camps, which makes an in-depth comparison?

It is not only the Catholic Church which has a reputation for opposing humanitarian, progressive movements throughout history – accepting them only when they have irreversibly permeated the general culture. Please learn from history on merciful progressive causes such as slavery et alia, now animals. Romans 8, 19-23 says that the whole creation awaits the revealing of the sons of God to end its suffering. I ask you to reflect what your blog and its contributors would reveal to them if they could understand it. The trouble with RC scholastic theology is that its infection by ancient Greek hierarchical thinking lives on. Isaiah 11,9 says all hurting and killing of animals will stop when the knowledge of God is complete. That's the destination I'm travelling to: please be more positive about the purpose and value of animals (important as compassionate Christian witness to the world too) and join me on the ultimate journey to “God’s Holy Mountain” (Isaiah 11,9) - we are going to have to not kill or hurt animals then, so why not get used to Kingdom values now? Roll on “Thy Kingdom Come”.

Tribunus said...

Dear John Gilheany,

I do appreciate your strong feelings on the subject but strong feelings are no substitute for good logical argument.

You do not answer any of the arguments I advanced but make the usual emotional and irrational call to bizarre and lethal sentimentality.

Let's look at some of your comments:

"whether Catholics today like it or not; among the irrationalists, sentamentalists and doubtless worse there are coherent and compassionate individuals who have responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit".

This is not an argument. It is self-serving and circular. Every believer who thinks he is right also thinks he is responding to the "prompting of the Holy Spirit". Some Nazis even claimed to be responding to the "promptings of God" when plainly they were responding to the Devil.

And many Nazis, including Hitler, were vegetarians and animal liberationists.

"Anti-Vivisectionism" is fine if it is truly "humanitarian" (i.e. concerned with mankind) and claims that humans ought not to be cruel but it is twaddle if it claims animals have rights. They don't have rights.

Neither Newman nor Manning ever said that they did. Neither do I. You will not persuade me or anyone else by sentimental, irrational appeals to emotion over reason of the sort you advance in your post.

To suggest that animals have the "right" not to be eaten is plainly incompatible with Scripture and with the teaching of the Church. The Jews were commanded by God to eat the flesh of a new-born lamb during the course of their most sacred Feast, the Passover.

If you don't like this then you had better have your argument with the one who created all animals - God. He disagrees with you.

God created animals for the benefit of man.

As well as being anti-Scriptural and anti-God, your position is also completely illogical.

The "law of the jungle" to which you refer is observable in nature every time one animal attacks, kills and eats another animal which is a routine, everyday occurrence.

The simple fact is that animals simply do not obey your perverse morality - the very animals whom you say have "rights" do not respect those "rights". Your whole moral argument is defeated by the very creatures whom you claim to be defending!

Your claim that animals are "rational" and "sensible" but humans are not is itself irrational and self-defeating.

It is all too indicative of the primal irrationality and sentimental twaddle which is the key feature of the animal liberationist movement.

You might as well argue that a fly is intrinsically superior to Michelangelo because, although the latter produced the Sistine chapel frescoes, other humans have committed evil.

A fly cannot commit evil because it has no rational soul.

A man can both rise to the heights of a saint or to the depths of a devil. He can become a virtuous man or he can become a gangster.

It is of the nature of a superior being with a rational soul and free will that such a being can turn to good or evil.

Animals cannot. They are creatures of instinct only. They have animal souls only and not rational souls.

But because animals do not have the moral faculty of choosing good and evil, you think them superior. You might as well say that your big toe is superior to yourself.

That is not merely irrational - it is bordering upon the pathologically bizarre.

On the other hand, if you think animals do have rational souls then you have equally rejected the Church's teaching.

If you really think that "individuals... who have consigned Christianity to the dustbin of history" are "in tune with their moral sensibilities", then you are no Catholic, but are an anti-Catholic and an enemy of God.

But that is no surprise - most animal liberationists are precisely that.

Many, like Peter Singer, consider that human beings are not "made in the image of God" and are nothing special but are to be treated as no different from animals. Thus new-borns can be killed, if not wanted, and euthanasia of the sick and elderly is fine because "that is what you would do with a sick dog". So says Peter Singer the animal liberationist.

Between Christianity and Animal Liberationism of this sort no compromise can ever be reached. Such Animal Liberationism is a creature of Satan. It is an Arch-enemy of Christianity, of humanity and of mankind.

I strongly advise you to have nothing to do with such evil or else you will be endangering your immortal soul and your fellow man.

You will also be adopting some of the characteristic beliefs of that well-known animal liberationist, Adolf Hitler.

Tribunus said...

Dear Barry,

There is always something peculiarly odious about an Anglican attempting to lecture Catholics about human rights, especially when one considers the utterly appalling – nay, near-satanic – abuse by Anglicans of the human rights of Roman Catholics that has been, for most of its history, one of the primary hallmarks and dirty little secrets of the Anglican Church.

For sheer hypocrisy there are few things as rank as Anglican hypocrisy toward Catholics and especially on the issue of human rights.

Some of the most odious penal laws ever then invented to oppress Christian men were devised by an Anglican Parliament for the ill-treatment of British and Irish Roman Catholics.

They included, among others: 25 Henr. VIII c.22 (1534); 26 Henr. VIII c.1 (1534); 1 Eliz. I c.1 (1559); 1 Eliz. I c.2 (1559); 13 Eliz. I c.1 (1571); 13 Eliz. I c.2 (1571); 23 Eliz. I c.1 (1581); 27 Eliz. I c.2 (1585); 1 Jac. I c.4 (1604); 3 & 4 Jac. I c.4 (1606); 3 & 4 Jac. I c.5 (1606); 3 Carol. I c.2 (1628).

Thereafter, came the Test and Corporation Acts.

The Corporation Act of 1661 required that, besides taking the Oath of Supremacy, all members of corporations were within one year after election to receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper according to the rites of the Church of England.

This act was followed by the Test Act of 1673 (the full title of which is “An act for preventing dangers which may happen from popish recusants”).

This act enforced upon all persons filling any office, civil or military, the obligation of taking the oaths of supremacy and allegiance and subscribing to a declaration against transubstantiation and also of receiving the Anglican sacrament within three months after admittance to office.

Catholics were thus precluded from holding any kind of public office, in the state, in the law, in the Services, in the Universities, even as Schoolmasters, both by reason of their being Catholics and also by reason of such office-holders having to swear an anti-Catholic oath.

At that time the Penal Laws against Catholics meant that those who did not attend the services of the Church of England every week and take the Anglican Communion 3 times a year were guilty of “recusancy” and were to be fined either £20 a month (a vast sum then) or 2/3rd of their income as the government chose.

This was a requirement most offensive to the consciences of Catholics who were only permitted to receive the Catholic Holy Communion and were, in conscience, forbidden to attend the services of non-Catholic churches.

Furthermore, it was felony to attend the Catholic mass and Catholic priests and those who sheltered them were to be hanged until half dead, then, while still alive, gutted from the genitals to the rib-cage and their internal organs removed and burnt before their eyes, their hearts being ripped out last and held up to the gaze of a blood-thirsty crowd, and then, finally, the lifeless body cut into four parts and displayed on pikes on the city gates or elsewhere.

It was a most disgustingly brutal and savage punishment deliberately preserved and made use of by the very Anglicans who claimed to be opposed to “cruel and unusual punishments”.
Utter, utter hypocrisy and cruelty of the most disgusting, foul and bloody kind.

No-one coming from this Church tradition has any business lecturing anybody else about human rights.

And yet with wonderful hypocrisy you write: “the Catholic Church which has a reputation for opposing humanitarian, progressive movements throughout history –merciful progressive causes such as slavery et alia, now animals”.

Actually, when Anglicans and other Protestants were still arguing in favour of human slavery and the slave trade, the Catholic Church had long since condemned it.

See my posts at:

http://romanchristendom.blogspot.com/2007/10/anti-slavery-and-spanish-empire-where.html

http://romanchristendom.blogspot.com/2008/01/recent-correspondent-thinks-that-all.html

The Rev Cotton Mather, a Protestant, referred to black people as “Adam’s degenerate seed” and Anglicans in large numbers were profiting from the slave trade. Even Gladstone inherited a fortune made from slaving.

But you Anglicans always have a way of going about with your eyes shut to truths that you do not like.

Actually, the Catholic Church has long since earned a reputation for being a champion of real human rights.

It is the Anglican Church which has an odious and tainted reputation for grossly ignoring the human rights of others and for spilling oceans of innocent human blood.

Try reading William Cobbett’s savage indictment of the Anglican oppression of minorities, Catholics and the poor in A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland.

And Cobbett was himself an Anglican, so he cannot be accused of bias.

Frankly Catholics and others are no longer interested in the tired old lies and hypocrisy exhibited by all too many Anglicans.

So you will forgive us if we take your talk of human rights, compassion and care with a very large mountain of salt!

Your claim to go with Abraham Lincoln does not help you either.

Since the 1840s Lincoln had been an advocate of the American Colonization Society program of colonizing blacks in Liberia. See his 1854 speech in Illinois.

Lincoln appointed the Protestant Minister, Rev James Mitchell, as his Commissioner of Emigration to oversee colonization projects from 1861 to 1865.

Between 1861 and 1862 Lincoln actively negotiated contracts with businessmen to colonize freed Blacks in Panama and on a small island off the coast of Haiti.

The Haiti plan collapsed in 1862 and 1863 after swindling by the business agents responsible for the plan, prompting Lincoln to send ships to retrieve the colonists.

The much larger Panama contract fell through in 1863 after the government of Catholic Colombia backed away from the deal and expressed hostility to colonization schemes.

In 1862 Lincoln also convened a colonization conference at the White House where he addressed a group of freedmen and attempted to convince them of supporting his policy.

Despite the setbacks in Panama and Haiti, Lincoln discussed plans to renew his push for colonization during his second term.

About a week before the assassination, Maj-Gen Benjamin F. Butler recalls a meeting with Lincoln at the White House, in which Lincoln asked him "But what shall we do with the negroes after they are free?".

He then asked Butler to consult Secretary of State William H. Seward and devise a colonization program for Panama.

Butler would oversee the transfer beginning with the deployment of the United States Coloured Troops to the isthmus, where they would be employed digging a Panama Canal.

So much for the “great” Abraham Lincoln. In fact, Lincoln was no Christian but a self-confessed unbeliever.

If you are an animal liberationist and pro-life then you also oppose the euthanasia of animals, including fleas, pests, poisonous animals and other dangers to human life.

That is plainly ridiculous in which case, if you are honest with yourself, your position is either inconsistent or else not pro-life.

The quality of your mercy is indeed highly selective.

Your next deception is to claim – without any evidence – that Hitler was not a vegetarian.

The fact is that he was not only a vegetarian, he was also an animal liberationist.

Go to this post on my site and you can see for yourself how wrong you are:

http://romanchristendom.blogspot.com/2008/10/st-hubert-against-fanatics.html

So cut the cackle, Barry, and face the facts.

It may be inconvenient for you that Hitler was a veggie in principle and an animal-libber but truth does not become false merely because it is inconvenient.

Hitler did rarely and hypocritically eat meat but so do many moderns who call themselves vegetarians. Hypocrisy among vegetarians (or Nazis for that matter) is nothing new.

Your Scripture quotes are also a mendacious deception.

You mention Gen 1:29-30 but omit verses 26-28 which say:
“26 And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. 27 And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth.”

Plain as a pikestaff! Animals are under man’s dominion, Barry. And Man was made in the image of God but no mention of animals being so made.

Isaiah 11:6-9 (“the lion shall lie down with the lamb) is a reference to heaven and the new earth at the end of time since – plainly – the lion does NOT currently lie down with the lamb but instead eats it.

Revelation 5 is also about heaven and the new earth but – please note – it also talks about the “lamb that was slain” which is both Christ and the Passover lamb. No Passover lamb – no Christ. The eating of meat was central to the religion of the Jews. No veggies they!

Proverbs 12:10 confers no rights upon animals but merely enjoins the just man to regard his beasts i.e. to tend them so that they can later be used for food and –arguably – not to be unnecessarily cruel to them. But that is an obligation upon humanity for man’s own good – not because the animal has any “rights”.

Genesis 9 says the opposite of what you say:
“And God blessed Noah and his sons. And he said to them: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 And let the fear and dread of you be upon all the beasts of the earth, and upon all the fowls of the air, and all that move upon the earth: all the fishes of the sea are delivered into your hand. 3 And every thing that moveth and liveth shall be meat for you: even as the green herbs have I delivered them all to you: 4 Saving that flesh with blood you shall not eat.”

“Everything that moveth and liveth shall be meat to you” – what could be clearer?

The only flesh that cannot be eaten is flesh with the blood still in it which, as we know, is what orthodox Jews and Moslems continue to do to this day in Kosher and Halal kitchens.

But note this, Barry: THEY STILL EAT MEAT.

Got it?

Animals are not merely “companions” for men. A true companion for man must be another being with a rational soul e.g. other men, angels or God. Animals are for man’s “use”.

It is quite clear even from your own quotes from the Bible that animals were made for man’s use. Yet you still claim that you “go with the Bible”. Sorry, Barry, but you just don’t.

Romans 8:19-23 does not confer any rights upon animals it merely says that corruption shall cease in heaven. That is hardly surprising since there can be no corruption (i.e. death and decay) in heaven, even of animals.

Your chatter about Greek influences on Aquinas shows how little you know him or his work since the greatest influence on him is Scripture and the teaching of the Church.

The only thing you are right about is that the current concept and terminology of human rights isn’t old or Biblical but based upon secular values brought in by the Enlightenment 200 years ago.

You are also correct to say that for a Christian “rights are rooted in God’s creation of us, His sustenance, redemption and concern for our welfare”.

But this is not only for Christians.

This is the meaning of the phrase “the Natural Law”. It is a law of God that is written in the hearts of all men, including those who are not Christian. It is a creation ordinance for men e.g. like not doing murder.

You go wrong in the very next sentence when you say “but all this also applies to animals”.

Says who?

No-one except the loony animal liberationists.

You have no Scriptural, doctrinal or any other Christian authority for your additional claim, at all.

None whatsoever.

It’s baloney.

Not only that, it is baloney that came in with the Enlightenment – the very secular values that you claim to repudiate.

You write: “We are made in the image of God, which means we should behave better”.

Better than what?

Better than animals?

Ah, so they are NOT made in the “image of God” then? Well, then, they are inferior.

On the other hand, if you say they ARE made in the “image of God” then why should we behave better than them when, by your own analogy, they should also behave “better” for the same reason.

But, of course, they don't. They brutally savage each other, kill each other, rip each other up and eat each other, every day.

It is customary to refer to a brutal or savage person as "an animal" indicating that they are behaving like a mere beast instead of a man and that the two are fundamentally different in kind and character and soul.

Your whole argument is an illogical non-sequitur from beginning to end.

It is also totally, completely and radically unbiblical.

Indeed, it is a reversion to that savage, cruel heathenism in which men behaved like animals and treated each other like animals because they thought of themselves as mere animals.

The sad reality is that is has been loony animal liberationists like Hitler who have been the biggest disaster for mankind and for creation.

Is that the destination you really want to travel to?

Take care – you will certainly find Hell at the end of it.

John Gilheany said...

So just to get this straight; you actually believe that it is somehow "evil" to be concerned about wholesale animal suffering and that a practical sense of ethics in response to the situation is an irrational danger to the mortal soul; both mine and those of others?

We'll get to that in due course but thanks for an appreciation of my 'strong feelings' towards the scale of animal persecution in Western society by resorting to a rant which eventually attempts to compare me to Adolf Hitler!

A guilty conscience in overdrive?

Well, let's see...firstly there's the accusation of a "bizarre" response to your comments which may or may not recede when you've had more time to consider the (apparently unthinkable) concept that contemporary Catholicism could clearly have a grave moral blindspot in its relationship to God's animal life.

"Every believer who thinks he is right also thinks he is responding to the "prompting of the Holy Spirit" - Until we take a look at the actual consequences of those beliefs in the real world.

If theological conviction results in industrial-scale bloodshed then any responsible individual -let alone those that would attempt to bear witness to the Prince of Peace - should have the maturity to reflect on their relationship with completely unnecessary and intrinsically violent situations

(Unless an ethical objection to the obviously woefull sights and sounds of animals being slaughtered in a production-line fashion is another example of what you would term subjectivity or the 'irrational' but then Wilberforce (an RSPCA founder) received much the same flack from the religionists of his age.

Indeed the first to cast stones at any type of prophet (or orchestrate the Crucifixion of their Saviour) are inevitably the doctrinally blind religious elite.

(Incidentally, the towering Catholic thinker of his time, G.K. Chesterton may have loathed vegetarianism but he also declared that "those who refer to compassion as 'sentimentality' deserve nothing but contempt.")

I'll spare you Chesterton's prescriptive wrath even if you've been unable to resist the tendency to deny that courtesy to critics of your opinions.

"Anti-Vivisectionism" is fine if it is truly "humanitarian" (i.e. concerned with mankind) and claims that humans ought not to be cruel but it is twaddle if it claims animals have rights. They don't have rights."

All rights discussion is speculative.

You may never respect the rights of animals to have their God-given interests recognised rather than subjugated to countless forms of human conquest but it does not afford you any ideological authority: no more than those (Christians) who have sought to deny rights to women or children in pursuit of their own historically (selfish) interests.

As you have not been prepared to face up to the incontrovertible condemnation of Cardinals of human brutality towards God's animals, here's what better men than today's Church leaders have had to say:

"Think of your feelings at cruelty practiced upon brute animals and you will gain the sort of feeling which the history of Christ's cross and passion ought to exite within you...Now what is it that moves our very hearts and sickens us so much as cruelty shown to poor animals?

I suppose this first, that they have done no harm; next that they have no power whatsoever of resistance; it is the cowardice and tyranny of which they are the victims which make their sufferings so especially touching...there is something so very dreadful, so satanic in tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power, who have weapons neither of offence nor defence, that none but very hardened persons can endure the thought of it."

(Cardinal Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, 1868)

It would indeed be psychotic let alone 'irrational' for a human being to divorce themselves from an ethical relationship with suffering non-human beings but perhaps Newman may not live up to your criteria for Christian awareness and conduct?

Cardinal Manning's even more scathing and perennial condemnation of vivisection is presented in the Archive section of the Catholic Concern for Animals website.

"To suggest that animals have the "right" not to be eaten is plainly incompatible with Scripture and with the teaching of the Church. The Jews were commanded by God to eat the flesh of a new-born lamb during the course of their most sacred Feast, the Passover.

If you don't like this then you had better have your argument with the one who created all animals - God. He disagrees with you."

There are actually more (amoral) references in the New Testament to human slavery than there are to the consumption of animal flesh - both of which were cultural norms, a long time ago but thankfully civilisation was not been entirely retarded by selective Biblical fundamentalism.

"God created animals for the benefit of man."

This notion ignores the countless species of animals that humans have not (yet) got round to exploiting and is therefore entirely unsupportable. Creation exists for the glory of its Creator not to appease human hubris or ruthless ambition.

"The "law of the jungle" to which you refer is observable in nature every time one animal attacks, kills and eats another animal which is a routine, everyday occurrence.

The simple fact is that animals simply do not obey your perverse morality - the very animals whom you say have "rights" do not respect those "rights". Your whole moral argument is defeated by the very creatures whom you claim to be defending!"

You have actually created a website which exalts the worst excesses of predatory existence and constitutes direct conflict with the Bible's revelation of creation awaiting cosmic redemption and the liberation from 'bondage to corruption' of the 'sons of God'.

So which side are you really on?


"You might as well argue that a fly is intrinsically superior to Michelangelo because, although the latter produced the Sistine chapel frescoes, other humans have committed evil."

Exactly how many human beings are remotely capable of painting a Sistine Chapel or for that matter engaging in any activity beyond the endless pursuit of personal gratification or gain? In fact many live less worthwhile lives than the average fly, so this type of automatic adulation of the human species is a merely a symptom of the idolatry which has resulted from recent decades of excessively humanocentric Catholic doctrine.

"They are creatures of instinct only. They have animal souls only and not rational souls."

Well thank you for acknowledging the reality of animal souls which presumably leaves upwards of 95% of Christendom in an 'irrational' position, if your words are absolute truth and that seems to be the tone of your thesis.

Perhaps the comprehension of immortal animal souls would just be too grave to confront in that the result will inevitably entail having to face victims of human exploitation and having to actually share a heaven which human beings would rather award themselves alone: there's no bliss to be gained from diminished responsibility and a 'heaven' bereft of other creatures is a pathetic concept.

"If you really think that "individuals... who have consigned Christianity to the dustbin of history" are "in tune with their moral sensibilities", then you are no Catholic, but are an anti-Catholic and an enemy of God."

There are those that do the will of God and those who prefer to shout "Lord, Lord!" God knows the hearts and behaviour of mankind and will hardly share your delusional judgement of others. Such basic spiritual precepts pertaining to peace, mercy, love, sacrifice and reverence are far more prevalent outside of the Churches where respect for other creatures is concerned.

"Many, like Peter Singer, consider that human beings are not "made in the image of God" and are nothing special but are to be treated as no different from animals. Thus new-borns can be killed, if not wanted, and euthanasia of the sick and elderly is fine because "that is what you would do with a sick dog". So says Peter Singer the animal liberationist."

There's an intelligent interview with Peter Singer and commentary from readers of the Catholic Herald on the Catholic Blog: www.secondsightblog.com/?p=45

"Such Animal Liberationism is a creature of Satan. It is an Arch-enemy of Christianity, of humanity and of mankind."

I'll let your own words carry their own judgement on this occasion more than any other.

I believe that the above commentary should detract from that bogus allegation in support of your ideas that your critics have evaded major points. In fact the only borderline-cogent case that I didn't get round to addressing from your original posting was the section on rodeos.

Since we have an equestrian industry in Britain but lack this particular ritual, it is therefore highly likely that it is entirely unnecessary at the very best of times and at the risk of further crass accusation of 'sentimentality' - it would appear that your webpage is merely revelling in a form of domination with all the obvious trappings of slavery!

I'll leave it at that (and will probably have to so your last word may endure) but thank you for attempting to defend the calibre of your original webpage even if the exposition has seen such convictions unravel further before the humanely religious.

John Gilheany

Tribunus said...

Dear John,

No – you have not got my position “straight”. And I’m afraid, as to “ranting” and demonstrating a “guilty conscience in overdrive”, you seem to be talking about yourself.

There is nothing “evil” in being concerned about not inflicting needless cruelty on animals. To do so is bad for the human soul, as is any needless cruelty. It prepares the way for the soul to be cruel toward human beings and is therefore wrong. There is a moral obligation on humans not to be needlessly cruel to animals.

On this much, we agree.

Where we disagree is that you do not accept that this is a man-centred obligation and does not confer the equivalent of human rights upon animals.

The error made by animal liberationists is to confer rights upon animals and to pretend that animals are no different from humans.

THIS is the error and, yes, it is a gravely evil one for all the reasons that I have already advanced.

You are not the first person to accuse the Catholic Church of having a moral “blind spot” – many tyrants and oppressors have done so in the past - but who are you to judge?

You claim to be a Catholic and yet you claim to know better than the Catholic Church what Catholicism is.

By what authority do you so claim to know better than your own Church what it teaches?

The fact is that you are only able to rely upon that classic paradigm of illogicality, the circular argument.

Your argument amounts to nothing more than this: “John is right because, in the ‘real’ world, John is ‘obviously’ right”.

Classic question-begging and circular illogicality which proves nothing apart, perhaps, from the arrogance of him who asserts it.

Equally circular is your equally spurious claim that Chesterton supports you. He does not. He was particularly strong against the veggies and Animal Libbers of his day.

The false assumption you make is in assuming that he agrees with your false idea of compassion.

That he did not is entirely clear from his writings on the subject of vegetarianism.

Pretending that men and animals are equal is the very negation of compassion. Animal Libbers arrive at their false understanding of compassion by way of a fatuous and silly sentimentalism.

Chesterton made it abundantly clear that he disagreed with them and he spent a lot of time lampooning their silliness precisely because he could see the dangerous route down which it was leading.

You cannot see what he foresaw, perhaps because you have a moral “blind spot”.

You’ve scored an own goal there, John, I’m afraid.

Then you lay down yet another of your private dogmas without any kind of authority at all.

With solemn pomposity you tell us: “All rights discussion is speculative”.

Says who, John, apart from you?

What is your authority for this bald statement?

Quite apart from anything else, it seems to be a blatant rejection of the most fundamental of teachings of the Church to which you claim to belong.

There is nothing “speculative” about the Catholic Church’s endorsement of the Ten Commandments, for instance.

These set out the fundamental obligations of human beings and the rights that flow from them.

Where are the animal Ten Commandments to be found, John?

Where does God tell us what the “God-given interests” that you claim animals have?

You tell us, firstly, that rights discussions are speculative, then, in the very next breath, you tell us that animals have “God-given interests”. How can they be both “God-given” and “speculative” at the same time?

You compare animal rights with the rights of women and children and even speak of “ideological authority”. Where is your authority for asserting that animals have the same rights as women and children?

Well?

Not one iota do you provide. And certainly none from Scripture or the Church’s teaching. At least Barry made an attempt to do that.

In support of your claim that animals have rights, you rely upon nothing other than your own, unsupported, question-begging circularity.

The only evidence or authority that you do provide is in support of the principle that is undisputed i.e. that it is not good for men to be needlessly cruel to animals.

But that is not in dispute between us.

What is in dispute is that this proper feeling of revulsion at needless cruelty to animals somehow confers upon them “rights” when, in fact, it does no such thing.

And you have advanced no argument, authority or basis for asserting otherwise.

Feelings of revulsion may point to obligations but they do not necessarily create rights. Enter the lethal sentimentalism of which I spoke. Pictures of doe-eyed baby seals do not create rights still less do they mean that we must equate humans and animals.

You will not find anywhere in all the works of Cardinals Newman or Manning any suggestion to the contrary and I challenge you to try.

Go ahead and try to find any statement of these two cardinals that claims that men and animals have equal rights or that animals have rights akin to human rights.

Go ahead and try.

Your response to Scripture is frankly farcical and fatuous, I'm sorry to have to say.

Unable to gainsay the fact that the very heart and core of the Jewish worship was the sacrifice of animals and that the very emblem of the Messiah, a lamb, was to be eaten by the Jews on the command of God, your response is to call this “Biblical Fundamentalism” and even “amoral”. You seem to be asserting that God was wrong and amoral but that, in recent times, He seems to have got a bit better. So saith the great John Gilheany.

Well, it’s a point of view, John – just not a very rational one.

But, then, as I have already had occasion to comment, rational debate is not a key feature of the Animal Liberationist movement.

Your arguments do not improve much thereafter, I’m afraid.

You say that God did not create animals for the benefit of man because there are species of animals that “humans have not (yet) got round to exploiting and is therefore entirely unsupportable”.

This is simply a non-sequitur, John. Your conclusion does not follow from the premises.

You are right to say that Creation exists for the glory of its Creator and not to appease human hubris or ruthless ambition but that does not contradict the principle that the animal creation is for the use and benefit of mankind including use for meat.

You simply assume, without any proof or argument, that the killing and eating of animals is necessarily "ruthless ambition" and "human hubris".

This is a classic example of the kind of irrationality that is so characteristic of the Animal Liberationist movement.

You do not seek to prove your case, merely to assert it pompously and dogmatically. "John is right because John is right" is essentially your case. Nothing much more. Your case is no more than circular and thus logically worthless.

In answer to the most obvious point of all, namely that animals themselves do not obey the “ethics” of Animal Libbers, you have nothing more to say than to launch into a rant about my website as if that were somehow an answer to this, the most obvious of arguments against the Animal Libber position.

You expose the fatal weakness of your case by failing to answer the most telling argument against your whole position.

Once again, you baldly claim that your position is in accord with Scripture without any authority other than your own unsupported arrogance, using phrases that do not even appear in Scripture like “cosmic redemption” or others like “bondage to corruption” which you interpret according to your own, unsupported, circular interpretation, as if you, somehow, are infallible and the Church, to which you claim to belong, is not.

You effectively claim to be your own pope and magisterium and everyone must agree with you even though you cannot even begin to prove one iota of your case. How arrogant is that? And yet you dare to speak of “compassion” and “ethics” and “rights”.

My dear John, who are you kidding?

And whose side are YOU on – apart from your own?

Certainly not the side of Jesus Christ or His Church – that much is certain.

You are not even on the side of reasoned argument.

The remainder of what you write merely serves, sadly, to prove this fact even more clearly.

You write:

“Exactly how many human beings are remotely capable of...engaging in any activity beyond the endless pursuit of personal gratification or gain? In fact many live less worthwhile lives than the average fly, so this type of automatic adulation of the human species is a merely a symptom of the idolatry which has resulted from recent decades of excessively humanocentric Catholic doctrine”.

So, presumably, those people whose lives are worth less than a fly may be swatted like a fly?

And doubtless you, and people like you, will claim the right to determine which human lives are worth "less than a fly" and which aren't?

And yet you claim it is unfair to compare your odious views with those of Hitler.

I think they are very comparable, John. He thought some people's lives were worth less than a fly, too.

It is a disgustingly odious view and one that you should be thoroughly ashamed of expressing. Shame on you! How dare you call yourself "compassionate" and "ethical", let alone "Christian" or "Catholic".

Once again, you claim, with an appalling arrogance, that the Church is wrong, most men are worthless, except, of course, you, John, who are infallibly right without any need to produce any evidence in support of your bizarre arguments.

Who are you kidding?

And then there is your deep ignorance of elementary theology.

“Well thank you for acknowledging the reality of animal souls which presumably leaves upwards of 95% of Christendom in an 'irrational' position”.

No, John, they have animal souls but not rational souls as 95% of Christendom has taught since the beginning. You merely demonstrate your ignorance of the terminology.

Go and read St Thomas and learn what you plainly know little about.

And, no, John animals do not get rewarded with heaven. Since they do not have rational souls they cannot choose God. That does not necessarily mean that there will not be animals for us to enjoy in heaven – it simply means that they, not having rational souls, cannot enjoy the vision of God which is the essence of heaven.

Look it up, John, before spouting your wholesale ignorance on a subject of which you plainly know but very little.

Next you liken Rodeos to “the trappings of slavery” once again demonstrating the perversity of your moral case and a clear commitment to the Animal Liberationist belief that animals and humans have equal rights, an ideology that, as we have seen, was shared by Adolf Hitler.

As to the alleged Catholicism of the view you advance, I repeat what I have said: it is essentially anti-Catholic.

You virtually admit as much with statements like this:

“basic spiritual precepts pertaining to peace, mercy, love, sacrifice and reverence are far more prevalent outside of the Churches”.

So, too, with your endorsement of Peter Singer’s perverse morality in which he claims that new-borns can be killed, if not wanted, and euthanasia of the sick and elderly is fine because ‘that is what you would do with a sick dog’”.

I do not think I am alone in considering such a philosophy devilish and evil. The Church certainly considers it so.

I am only sorry that you see fit to endorse it.

It is the high road to mindless, irrational, pathological exploitation, oppression and the destruction of human rights, not to mention the high road to Hell, both here and hereafter.

I encourage you to turn back from it now.

Anonymous said...

Whilst I do not think this 'blog' page is actually serving the essentially Evangelical work of the Church, I would like to add a comment.

Was not the Christian religion born of the crucifixion? Of God, in human form, dying on the cross like an animal without rights? If Man is the only creature capable of having rights, which are bestowed through his own reasoning, then not all men have rights either. The Nazi death camps were first slaughterhouses for animals (incapable of human reasoning), but later extended to accommodate humans who reasoned in ways that conflicted with the Nazi view. Surely though, different species do reason, even though in ways that humans do not share or value? Just as the opponents of Nazism reasoned, when making a stand against the fascist view.

Even God does not have rights to life according to most human reasoning.

If man has a right to torture and kill other species to satisfy his own reasoning and desires, then God is denied the right to see the creatures He has brought into being enjoy their lives and give praise to Him. Yet, according to our Faith, this is the highest purpose of creation! Where is the reasoning in a Roman Catholic defending his right to kill a creature?

Jesus died on the cross so that we might learn to reason like God. Scripture shows that it is easier to untie the tongue of a donkey and make it speak the truth than to teach men to reason like God. Many a braying donkey being dragged unwilling to slaughter has turned the hearts of meat-eating men to a vegetarian diet and animal rights activism. Such men might not formulate clever arguments against slaughter, but they perceive something gravely wrong with it in their hearts where God speaks to them.

The disciples could not grasp the reasoning of Jesus at all, until they were given the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The love which we can attempt to fathom and recognise through rational faith, which exists between the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, is necessarily circular and similar in nature. God repeatedly explains in Scriptures that His thoughts are not like mens' thoughts. If only men would begin to listen to Him and reason with, for and in His love for the good of all His creatures.

There is nothing in Scripture that states that the Ten Commandments apply only to humans. Far from it, God seems to incrementally introduce fairer treatment for more animals. Men seem to lock themselves into very wicked ways through long tradition, practices which God attempts to save them from. It was the task of the Holy Spirit following Pentecost to open the minds of the Apostles and Disciples to accept that salvation was not intended only for a few selected Jews. God sent visions that suggested every living thing had a place in heaven at God's heavenly banquet; it was not the animals that were too unclean to be in God's presence, only the loveless reasoning that came out of men's mouths and the actions they justified.

If only men would widen their scope to see Jesus in the eyes of creatures that are just a little bit different to themselves.

I can assure those who doubt that there is 'reason', 'spirituality' and 'emotion' behind issues of animal rights (certainly not an incredulous and corrupt sentimentality). However, the injustices suffered by so many animals at the hands of man are just too great for the human frame to withstand. Exasperation and speechlessness can set in.
People who think there is nothing wrong with Jesus dying on a cross, taking His love for granted, cannot be expected to grasp His perspective with any sense of immediacy. Reason still has a long way to grow in such individuals.

'Animal Rights' issues are essentially about God's right to a world which recognises Him even in the most inhuman of His creatures, and Roman Catholics have an essential duty to Him to pass on the 'good' news to all. It is irrational and lethal to do otherwise.

Repent, and believe the Good News!

Tribunus said...

Anonymouse,

Total fantasy.

Your view is about as far away from Roman Catholicism or, indeed, any form of Christianity, as the most bizarre and evil of creeds are.

Animal liberationism is a deadly, evil creed which seeks not to raise animals up the level of humans (which is, anyway, impossible) but to drag man down to the level of dumb animals.

Because man was not destined to be an animal but rather a rational being, free to choose to obey his Creator, to try to make of him an animal results only in making him far lower than any animal and more like a devil.

If men are no more than animals then they can, like animals, be subject to abortion, infanticide, abandonment, euthanasia and a host of other actions which animals naturally do to each other but which, for men to do to each other, would be deeply evil.

Thus your odious and detestable creed is truly diabolical and the invention of a satanic mind.

I urge you to renounce it for the sake of your immortal soul before it is too late.

Amanda Harris said...

Religion has a long history of abuse against the poor and disenfranchised and your post carries on this long tradition.

I do not drag animals down to the level of humans: that would be impossible. The human race is the earth's cancer.

Which idiot believes we are not guilty of abortion, infanticide, abandonment, euthanasia? Humans perform these acts in the millions, and far worse.

We must struggle daily to ensure we are kind, fair, egalitarian and do not promote elitism, violence or any form of supremacism.

If we were made in god's image we're all in trouble. If instead, it is a kind, just god then you're in trouble!

Amanda

Tribunus said...

Amanda,

Wrong on all counts.

Religion has a long history of aiding the poor and disenfranchised and my posts carries on this long tradition.

Your post entirely proves my point about the loony tunes nuttiness of animal rights extremists.

You, a human, call the human race "the earth's cancer".

You thus smash your own animal rights claim not to discriminate against species.

You also fail to be kind, fair, egalitarian and instead you promote animal rights elitism, violence and supremacism.

Your hypocrisy entirely proves my case.

Thank you!

You are made in God's image and you are in trouble.

And because He is a kind, just and good God you certainly are in trouble!

God help you, dear, loony tunes Amanda.

Anonymous said...


You are full of it if you don't think animals have any rights . Why don't you actually read the whole bible ? Look up the old testament which clearly states when you cannot muzzle an ox , and where you shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk . I think you are a liar to call yourself a Christian.

Animals do promote the common good . Dogs have saved peoples lives . What have any of you done lately to save a life ? Dogs are of great service to people with disabilities . Animals are therapy and lower our blood pressure . They are companions to those of us who love them . They are not just cuddly . You know very little about animals . Are you even a veterinarian? You know so little that you don't know that you are in fact an animal . I find people like you to promote nothing .

Tribunus said...

This anonymous post lampoons itself and I hardly need add much.

It proves perfectly just how irrational, loony and sick the animal libbers really are.

Animal libbers are simply in denial that central to the Jewish religion, upon which Christianity is based, is the Passover meal which consists in eating a lamb.

Why don't animal libbers actually read the whole bible?

Simple.

Because it totally demolishes their claims. That's why they don't read it.

And even when they DO read it, they blunder fatuously.

Anonymouse says: "the old testament...clearly states when you cannot muzzle an ox".

No. It states that one should not muzzle "the threshing ox" i.e. when it is threshing the wheat. This is for the benefit of man so that he can eat the bread that is made thereafter from the threshed grain.

Nothing to do with animal lib!

Likewise "you shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk" because it can be unhealthy for humans.

Nothing to do with animal lib!

Animal libbers are appalling liars when they try to call themselves Christian.

Animals do, indeed, promote the common good BUT ONLY WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN TRAINED BY MEN.

Dogs have saved peoples lives BUT ONLY WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN TRAINED BY MEN.

Dogs are, indeed, of great service to people with disabilities BUT ONLY WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN TRAINED BY MEN TO DO SO.

But it is men who have, BY FAR, the best record for saving the lives of other men.

And note that even Anonymouse has to use the analogy of saving the lives of men to promote his views, thus implicitly recognising the superior value of men to animals.

The sheer hypocrisy of animal libbers stinks in the nostrils of mankind and God.

And animal libbers think there is no difference between men and animals and so they readily endorse abortion, euthanasia and suicide for men, thus endorsing grossly immoral actions condemned by all civilised societies and certainly by the Christian religion.

Idiocy comes in many sizes and shapes but never more so than in the shape of Animal Liberationism.

It is a devilish, inhuman, unchristian and deeply evil creed which can only lead to death and destruction, just as Nazism, did.