I’m starting to sense a pattern developing whereby the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer makes some absurd statement, that statement eventually gets picked up by various blogs and media outlets who marvel at its absurdity, and then Fisher responds by claiming that everyone completely misrepresented his original piece, which was really quite reasonable and sane.
He did it a few weeks ago when he wrote that gays should be treated like criminals and are no different than slave-owners and drug users. That set off a round of condemnation, to which he responded by claiming that everybody was over-reacting because he never said “we should lock homosexuals up in prison” and repeatedly weaseled his way out of explaining what he really meant.
Now he’s doing it again, responding to all the attention generated by his post blaming the death of a trainer at Sea World on the failure to follow Biblical mandates and kill animals that harm humans by insisting that everyone is misrepresenting his very reasonable point:
It’s been rather surreal to see my little blog post/column of Feb. 25 take on a life of its own, and become the subject of endless and hysterical rants in the blogosphere. In addition, I was contacted today for interviews by the Chicago Tribune (whose reporter told me she’d read about it on the Daily Mail in London), and by radio stations in Alaska, Seattle, and L.A. Plus I have been chewed out by numerous animal rights zealots either via phone or email.
What apparently gave the story some legs is that I was falsely reported as calling for the stoning of the killer whale, when of course I did nothing of the sort. I simply called for the animal to be euthanized, which can be done humanely and entirely without using rocks. I’m sure, for instance, that the veterinarians at SeaWorld have put animals down any number of times. Plus even if you wanted to stone a giant dolphin to death, I’m not sure exactly how you’d go about doing it.
Also, and likewise bizarrely, I have been reported as calling for the owners of SeaWorld to be stoned, which of course I did not do either. I called for legal action against them to hold them accountable for negligently exposing an employee to life-endangering risk. Perhaps this additional note will reduce the level of unhinged bloviating on the internet.
The simple truth is that this story is about the value we place on human life. In a Judeo-Christian worldview, a human being has infinite, eternal value while an animal does not. Because of the sanctity of human life, we ought to euthanize an animal which kills a human being so that it cannot kill again.
Fischer claims his point was merely that the whale ought to have been put down a long time ago and that it is no different than putting “a pit bull to sleep after it has mauled a child.”
Of course, that’s not what he said. What he actually said was that the failure to properly follow Scripture is what led to this death at Sea World, and the passages he cited explicitly called for the stoning of animals and the death of their owners:
If the counsel of the Judeo-Christian tradition had been followed, Tillikum would have been put out of everyone’s misery back in 1991 and would not have had the opportunity to claim two more human lives.
Says the ancient civil code of Israel, “When an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner shall not be liable.” (Exodus 21:28)
So, your animal kills somebody, your moral responsibility is to put that animal to death. You have no moral culpability in the death, because you didn’t know the animal was going to go postal on somebody.
But, the Scripture soberly warns, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn’t kill it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you die right along with your animal. To use the example from Exodus, if your ox kills a second time, “the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.” (Exodus 21:29)
Apparently, Fischer can’t quite understand how a post entitled “Bible Ignored, Trainer Dies,” which blamed the death of a trainer at Sea World on the failure to abide by Biblical passages mandating the stoning of animals and the death of their owners, could possibly have been interpreted as calling for the stoning of animals and the death of their owners.