But, as Saletan wisely pointed out in 2002,
You can abstain from meat because you believe that the mental capacity of animals is too close to that of humans. You can eat meat because you believe that it isn't. Either way, you're using a fixed standard. But if you refuse to eat only the meat of "companion" animals—chewing bacon, for example, while telling Koreans that they can't stew Dalmatians—you're saying that the morality of killing depends on habit or even whim.Exactly.
If we are not careful, science and technology - the pre-eminent way by which we change the world to match our preconceptions of how it ought to be - lead us ineluctably to conclude that all of creation should match our desires. Because we have bent so much of the world to our will, we come to the erroneous conclusion that we can even change the fabric of reality itself.
Thus, we decide whether a member of the species homo sapien can live or die depending on whether or not s/he is "wanted", either in extreme youth, illness or extreme old age. The utility of companion animals undergoes a similar transformation: if we want the cute doggie, we transform it into a quasi-person. If we don't, we eat it.
The hallmark of the culture of death is precisely the attempt to define the world according to our desires instead of recognizing the world exists apart from our desires. The culture of death is a culture of illusion, and we are deeply immersed in it.
Americans spend an astonishing $41 billion a year on their furry friends. That's double the amount shelled out on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years, according to a Business Week Article published in August, 2007.Now, one of the common complaints made against pro-lifers is, "Pro-lifers only care about unborn babies - they ignore the ones already born. They should spend their time helping children already in the world!" Notice how rarely this objection is raised against pet owners.
I recently made this point to Bruce Tomaso, the editor of the religion blog at The Dallas Morning News. From all reports an essentially fallen-away Catholic, Bruce - like most lax Catholics - frequently shows a blatant disrespect for religion in general and Catholic Faith in particular on the DMN blog.
And, as one would expect from a basically anti-Catholic personality, he has a remarkably poor grasp on reality.
For instance, when a drunken Rodney King was recently shot in the face, Bruce felt it an excellent occasion for political jokes. Although I pointed out in the comments section of another article that this was not particularly humorous, he actually defended his post, saying,
And, to answer your question, Yes: Rodney King getting sprayed with buckshot (but not seriously injured) while riding his bicycle, drunk, through the streets of San Bernadino IS funny.So, in addition to being both remarkably liberal and an anti-Catholic bigot, the Dallas Morning News religion blog editor apparently finds it hilarious when a drunken black man gets shot in the face - he seems to be a racial bigot as well.
Now, compare his reaction to a man being shot to his reaction over the recent death of his dog. A man who cares nothing for black men subjected to random street violence apparently spent thousands of dollars to fix his dog's spinal cord before finally having it killed.
As one might have foreseen, his followers gave him moral support. I, on the other hand, detected a certain lack of consistency, which I pointed out in a comment to his dog's eulogy:
Get over it.Bruce found this comment, which apparently struck too close to home, to be "hateful." So, I am now banned from commenting on any articles posted by him on the Dallas Morning News religion blog.
It was a dog.
Why didn't you spend the money on helping poor children instead of having the vet perform surgery?
Oh, that's right - we never chastise pet lovers for the money they spend on pets, do we? I forgot.
Well, you could at least have followed Native American Indian practice and eaten it for supper.
The situation is rather surreal: The Dallas Morning News defends jokes about a drunken black man being shot in the face, but will not permit discussion concerning the consumption of certain kinds of animal meat.
After all, that's hateful.
Update: CNN reports on a related event.