CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Whales In, Babies Out

Jan 21, 2008

Japanese whaling ships continue to make the news, with Greenpeace chasing them around the oceans, and Hollywood celebrities making a whale of a stink about the treatment of these water-bound mammals.

Two recent newspaper articles about the plight of whales caught my attention and deserve some comment. In last week’s Australian animal rights campaigner Peter Singer had an op-ed piece entitled “Hypocrisy on the high seas”. And Australian actress Isabel Lucas was featured in a Herald Sun magazine article this weekend. Both have great concern for these marine mammoths, and their anti-whaling rhetoric warrants a closer look.

Consider the article by Singer. He says that in a submission on the subject he “argued that whales were social mammals with big brains, capable of enjoying life and of feeling pain, and not only physical pain but very likely also distress at the loss of one of their group.” While the last claim is certainly a moot point, much of his article centres on this idea of whales feeling pain.

He says, “Causing suffering to innocent beings without an extremely weighty reason for doing so is wrong.” Now Singer is well known as not only an animal liberationist, but a vocal proponent of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide. Does anyone else besides me see some hypocrisy here, some double-standards?

Take abortion for example. We know perfectly well that unborn babies at a rather early age can experience pain. And we know quite clearly that abortion methods are extremely painful to the unborn baby, whether being burned to death by a saline solution, or being cut into small pieces by a curette.

So let’s go back to Singer’s fundamental moral principle: “Causing suffering to innocent beings without an extremely weighty reason for doing so is wrong.” By Singer’s own standard, he should be the first to be outside of an abortion mill, picketing the suffering caused to innocent beings.

But you will not find him there. Instead, you will find him in a college classroom, telling students that abortion is just fine, and the unborn are not human beings, or at least not persons. So let’s see if we have this straight. According to the good professor, whales are beings that suffer pain, and therefore should be protected at all costs. But human babies who are not yet born do not even have the right to be called an innocent being, and can be slaughtered with impunity, and with the most painful of methods.

This illogic and inconsistency is no better when we turn to the thoughts of television soapie star Isabel Lucas as featured this weekend in a newspaper magazine. She says she is appalled by the brutality of the methods in whale-killing. Perhaps they are barbaric. And perhaps a good case might be made against all whaling.

But my concern is the apparent moral selectivity here. While it is nice that some actors seek to have a moral conscience, it would be nice if this consciousness was applied across the board. Why do we not see Lucas in front of abortion clinics, protesting the barbaric and inhuman treatment of the unborn? Why her deafening silence on this issue?

The starlet emotes: “They just pull them out of the water by the tail and drop them on the cement – while they’re flipping – and slash their throats. Or they’ll stab them once and let them bleed to death. Then they start cutting them up while they’re still alive. It makes you feel completely disconnected from the human race.”

As I say, we can perhaps concur that cruelty to animals is not something to take lightly. But she sure seems to take cruelty to the unborn lightly. Is she even remotely aware of what takes place during an abortion? Does she care? Does she know that the same slashing and stabbing describes many types of abortion?

Does she not know what takes place during a late-term abortion? In case she – and the reader – does not, let me explain. In the late-term, or D&X abortion, the baby is delivered feet-first, with only the head left inside the mother. The abortionist then takes a scissors, stabs it into the back of the living – and very much sentient – baby. The limbs jolt out in painful reaction. Then the baby-killer takes a suction tube and sucks the brains out of the baby – a baby that had been alive only seconds before.

Ms Lucas wants the whole world to know about the bloody and barbaric methods used to kill whales. Fine. I want the whole world to know about the bloody and barbaric methods used to kill unborn babies. While both might be important causes, if I had to select just one, I know what my first choice would be.

I certainly do not begrudge the fact that Lucas and others are willing to be involved in some causes and to have compassion for the innocent. In the article it says this: “‘The entire cove was thick with blood because half the pod had already been slaughtered,’ she chokes, her eyes welling up at the memory.”

It is nice that she has a soft heart. But I still wait for a weekend magazine or a budding starlet to say the same about an even greater horror: “The entire abortion clinic was thick with blood because half the unborn babies had already been slaughtered.” Until the reality of what occurs at the abortion mills receives equal coverage, I must doubt the sincerity of both the media and the crusading celebrities.

It is also interesting that both use the term “humanitarian” or “humane” when dealing with whales. Both terms of course refer mainly to humanity, to humans, to the well-being and welfare of people. When I last checked, whales and people were in two different categories. But the word humane is increasingly used nowadays of compassion for animals as well. While the term may be so used for that purpose, it is interesting how many people seem to prefer being humane to animals than to humans.

There is nothing wrong with having compassion for, and concern about, our animal friends. But by applying terms to animals which generally refer to humans, our two crusaders further seek to eliminate the human-animal divide. Singer has long argued that certain higher apes, for example, should be afforded various human rights.

And Lucas, as the article informs us, is heavily into the New Age Movement. Thus whales and rocks and trees are all part of a cosmic reality that we must treat with great caution and respect. Except for unborn babies, it seems. They seem to have missed out on Isabel’s love of nature. She seems more keen on hugging crystals and protecting whales than she is about the plight of unborn human beings, some 45 million of whom are slaughtered every year, in the most despicable manner.

If these two animal crusaders think they must devote their energy to saving the whales, that’s OK. But I wish they spent an equal amount of time and energy on saving babies. Until they do, I will have to question both their ethics and their compassion. I will certainly have to question their priorities.

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8 Responses to Whales In, Babies Out

  • Bill

    Nice points. It is kind of sad that Peter Singer is one of the most widely known and influential philosophers in the world and makes such gross contradictions as this.

    Damien Spillane

  • Thanks Damien

    Of course Singer would claim to be completely consistent here. He does not regard the unborn, or newborn, as persons, but he does regard the great apes as persons. So in his skewed philosophy, he would be consistent in this. He did become quite inconsistent when it came to his hospital bed-bound mother. Then he treated her as a person, even though according to his worldview she was a non-person (she had Alzheimer’s disease and displayed none of the qualities that Singer considered characterised a person).

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Nice article, Bill.

    While concern for animals and the environment is certainly a good thing, how much more then should we be concerned about the slaughter of our own unborn future generations. It seems that radical environmentalism has become a nature-worshipping, human-sacrificing religion for modern times.

    James Swanson, Tennessee, USA

  • Our Lord Jesus will vindicate the death of His innocents – the murder of His creation whom He knew before they were in their Mother’s womb.
    We have a Righteous responsibility to continue to bring light truth and logic to the darkness of man’s soul in serious matters such as protecting His creation.
    In 1982 our youth group showed the documentary ‘The Silent Scream'[I think that was the name] at a public venue. And there have been similar documentaries produced since that time. Definitely our people are without excuse.

    Thank you Bill for your witness to honour Jesus and His ways.

    Ray Robinson

  • Thanks Bill,
    What do you think about Randy Alcorn’s book, ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments?
    Stan Fishley

  • Thanks Stan

    I would argue that if there was only one pro-life book that a person could afford, it would be Alcorn’s volume (Multnomah, 1992, revised, 2000). It really is one of the best around, and covers all the bases.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • One of the problems we have is that it is not culturally acceptable to discuss the gruesome abortions in public.

    For example at a BBQ, one can conceivably raise any amount of horrific treatment of animals and people would readily join the discussion. But mention the actual horrific practices of some abortionists and everyone is appalled that something so vulgar could be mentioned at a BBQ. It’s not culturally acceptable.

    I think there’s something inherent in our make-up that makes it difficult for people to discuss this topic — it’s just too disgusting for us to consider. It is inhuman and turns our stomach and therefore people don’t want to hear. Which makes it difficult for us to convey the message of the inhuman practice without actually specifying the gruesome actions.

    David Looke

  • Abortion makes me so ANGRY. I am at a loss at what to do to remove this modern day Molech worship. There are no scientific, economic or logical (let alone religious and morale) reasons to allow this evil to continue.
    I recommend “Politically Correct Death” by Francis Beckwith for a solid defence and offence for pro-lifers.
    Michael Mifsud

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