Prioritizing Our Outrage

Ok, not the sort of thing I normally comment on, but I was really blown away by this.  Driving home this morning from Cherry Hills Community Church where I spoke to the Men of Adventure Group, I was listening to a radio talk show that was commenting on this story:  In short, a man in Fairplay Colorado was convicted of cruelty to animals for his abuse of 100 dogs that were left without food or water in below-freezing temperature.  Several died and many others were near death when rescued.

The sentence?  90 days in jail, with a furlough in the middle for the man to attend his daughter’s funeral. 

Like most of the people who called in to the radio station, I think the sentence is outrageous.  It’s not even a slap on the wrist, but it’s apparently the maximum sentence allowable for animal cruelty. 

But my reason for commenting on this story isn’t to express my outrage, it’s to note a very strange – and disturbing – double standard.  You should have heard the callers!  They were incensed, calling for the man to be “stripped naked and thrown out into the snow” and “shot”!  And this wasn’t just one or two animal-lovers.  According to the radio hosts, the switchboards were lit up with callers waiting to express their outrage…at the man and at the court that passed so weak a sentence.

But here’s the thing:  abortion takes thousands of human lives every day and no secular radio station would ever dare raise the topic.  And if they did, how many of the calls would be to express their outrage that this horror goes on, not only with the court’s blessing but in some instances with federal funding?  Would anyone display the same kind of outrage that they can so easily muster for the abuse of dogs?

Have we really come to the place where we care more about dogs than human beings made as God’s Image?

Don’t get me wrong…cruelty to animals is unacceptable and should be punished.  I think that the court’s pathetic sentence is a tragic miscarriage of justice.  But I’m far more deeply disturbed by the fact that we’re free – even encouraged – to express our outrage over the inhuman treatment of dogs while the inhuman treatment of other human beings goes unremarked upon.