I have always loved dogs. I am thankful that God chose to create the dog kind. In my 33 years I have owned nine different dogs and have fond memories of them all. My dogs kept me company when I was alone. They calmed me when I was stressed. They picked me up when I was down. Even as a happily married husband and father of three, I still enjoy walking into the back yard to greet the family mutts—Bear and Suzy.
In August 2007, many people, including myself, were disappointed to learn that a well-known professional football player (Michael Vick) plead guilty to sponsoring, financing, and participating in the brutal sport of dog fighting. Vick even admitted that he was partly responsible for hanging and drowning a number of dogs that did not perform well in certain “test” fights (see United States v. Michael Vick, 2007). For his crimes, Vick was sentenced to 23 months behind bars, most of which were served in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.
I certainly believe that Vick’s actions (i.e., the drowning of dogs, etc.) can be described as appalling and somewhat sadistic. What’s more, he knowingly participated in a sport which has been outlawed in every state in America. He deserved some kind of punishment for his actions. But, we must recognize that Vick’s acts were done against animals. Though dogs may be “man’s best friend,” they still are just animals, not humans. They are every bit as much an animal as cows, crows, chickens, deer, monkeys, horses, and pigs are animals.
How absurd, inconsistent, and immoral is the United States judicial system when a person must serve nearly two years in prison for fighting, hanging, and drowning animals, yet, if that same person slaughters a 20-week-old unborn human, he supposedly is blameless. The fact that doctors in the United States can legally rip unborn babies to pieces with plier-like forceps, chop them up with knife-like devices, or puncture their skulls with a pair of scissors before sucking out the babies’ brains, is atrocious (cf. Proverbs 6:16-17). Are we to believe that Vick’s actions against dogs were “inhumane,” but what happens to approximately one million innocent, unborn babies every year in America is not? What could be more inhumane than willfully, selfishly, arrogantly, and brutally taking the life of a human—one of God’s image-bearers (Genesis 1:26-27; 9:6)? Baby murderers freely walk the streets of America everyday, but dog fighters are jailed for inhumane acts...against animals? How absurd! How atrocious!
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man! Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom will ascend like dust; because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 5:20-24).
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).
United States v. Michael Vick (2007), 3:07CR274, [On-line], URL: http://sports.espn.go.com/photo/2007/0824/vicksummary.pdf.
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