Saturday, March 6, 2010

Andrei Stone the whales

Paul Thomas has a go at the American Family Association (AFA) in todays Herald. According to him "an ultra-conservative religious group with 200 radio stations across the US"

He has picked up on an internet meme derived from a column written by Bryan Fischer, a column which Paul Thomas claims suggests the killerwhale which killed its trainer at Seaworld in Orlando should be stoned.

Furthermore according to Paul Thomas's column
If you think that's weird, get a load of this: the AFA also wants SeaWorld's head of animal training to be stoned to death, because the Bible says, "If an ox kills a second time, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner shall also be put to death."

And no, I don't think there's much to be gained by pointing out to the AFA that Tilikum isn't an ox.
Did Paul Thomas use the power of the internet to read the original column before rushing into print?

I doubt it because the story evaporates like the morning mist if you do.

To be sure the verses quoted by Mr Thomas are contained within the original piece,
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)

If I were the family of Dawn Brancheau, I'd sue the pants off SeaWorld for allowing this killer whale to kill again after they were well aware of its violent history.
All he says is the animal should have been put down after it killed the first time and that the dead trainers family should sue because it wasn't.

Nothing about stoning it let alone "SeaWorld's head of animal training" as claimed in Mr Thomas's column.

Anyway the original author, Bryan Fischer has written a subsequent column in which he responds to this nonsense - not the Herald column per se since that is merely a regurgitation of a more widespread meme.

He finishes
In my blog/column, I simply extracted an underlying principle from the Exodus 21 passage and gave it a contemporary application. I made no attempt to apply it in a crudely literal fashion, which apparently is a great disappointment to my critics.

One unanticipated benefit of the mindless overreaction my blog has generated is that a lot more people know what's in Exodus 21 than did a week ago. I'm happy to serve humanity by increasing biblical literacy, one passage at a time.
I kind of like that.

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