Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Gorilla and the Child

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The gorilla and the child dominated world news yesterday.

Some headlines read like this: "Hapless Gorilla Executed By Cincinnati Zoo."

One storyline read like this: "To protect the life of the 4-year-old child called Isaiah, whose stupid, irresponsible parents allowed him to crash into the gorilla's pen..."

A four-year-old (some say he is 3) crawled into the gorilla pen Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo. The 450-pound gorilla grasped the little boy and was dragging him around in the pen. Zoo officials shot and killed the gorilla to save the life of the little boy.

Now the outrage has begun---a Facebook group calling for "Justice for Harambe"---Harambe is the gorilla---Isaiah is the child.

This episode has raised a greater question. Whose life is more important? Human or animal?

It depends on who you ask.

CNN reported this yesterday:

Zoo keepers shot and killed a rare gorilla after a 3-year-old boy slipped into its enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, triggering an outcry over how the situation was handled. 
Footage shot by a witness shows Harambe, the 17-year-old male gorilla, standing near the boy, who went under a rail, through wires and over a moat wall to get into the enclosure, according to the zoo. The footage later shows Harambe dragging the child through the water as the clamor of the crowd grows louder and increasingly panicked. 
Zoo keepers then shot the 450-pound western lowland gorilla with a rifle, rather than tranquilizing him. 
Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes, and the child was in imminent danger. On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse," Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, said in a statement released Sunday. 
We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child's life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made the officials told the press.

CNN reported that the parents have not granted any interviews with the press at this time, however, they released a statement that read in part, "We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe. He is home and doing just fine. We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff. We know that this was a very difficult decision for them and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla. We hope that you will respect our privacy at this time."

However, the boy's brief encounter with the gorilla set off an uproar on the Internet.

An online petition, "Justice for Harambe" was launched Sunday on Facebook with a goal of 100,000 signatures. By last night, about 200,000 people had signed the petition demanding "justice" for the gorilla---for the most part calling for criminal charges to be brought against the parents, making them responsible for the death of the gorilla.

In defense of the gorilla, some are claiming the gorilla was actually trying to protect the child from the public panic outside the pen and are linking this matter to the violence against minorities by authorities.

Some of the videos being published by major news organizations are edited to show the gorilla touching the boy's face in an apparent paternal gesture. What many in the press are not showing the public is the 450-pound gorilla dragging the boy by his arm around the pen, through the water and over the rocks.

I have seen the unedited video. It does not look paternal.

Beyond the Facebook petition, people are venting their anger toward the parents and the authorities.
In fact, there has been much discussion on Facebook and other social media by blacks linking the killing of the gorilla to "entrenched white privilege."

You can read some of the narrative on the link above. Note, a post toward the bottom of the story by Ed Asante. You will notice Ed is black. And he posts this: "Wait a minute, so you guys spent all day talking about white parenting and the gorilla boy is black? Oh boy. lol."

I don't know what ethnicity the boy and his parents are---I haven't seen a picture of them--- nor do I care.

Clearly they should have watched their child more closely. Any of us who have raised children understand the task.

But this incident raises another point that has nothing to do with ethnicity and everything to do with how we value human life in a secular progressive culture.

As we distance ourselves from God, the Creator, the value of human life is lost, as is His order in creation.

A Harris Poll found 90% of pet owners think of their cats and dogs as their "family."

And 40% say they receive more emotional support from their pet than from their spouse or children.

I will be talking more about this on our live radio program this morning. Please join me live at 9 AM PDT from anywhere in the world---on the radio, on your computer or on your phone. Here's how.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.