Purple and Pigs

I'll get to pigs in a moment, but first we need to send out an urgent all-points warning to parents.

If you child happens to see a Tinky Winky stuffed toy he (or she?) may be forever warped by the character's purple purse.

In case you aren't up on all this, Tinky Winky is from the the popular PBS children's show Teletubbies...

...and, as reported in Rev. Jerry Falwell's newsletter, there's a homosexual message in that purple purse.

What? You didn't know that purple is associated with gays?

(Actually, I didn't know Tinky Winky was even a male; but, nevermind.)

Talk about save the children!

Forget food, medicine, a warm home or abusive parents; just get those dolls off the street before they destroy the lives of thousands of innocent children — if it's not already too late!

No question about it, we're fortunate to have the Rev. Jerry Falwell leading the Religious Right's efforts to keep us safe from such sin, wickedness and debauchery!

While the Rev. is worrying about purple purses, I'm more interested in things that I consider a bit more substantive, like the unnecessary (and very real) pain and suffering in the world.

We know a lot about the pain and suffering of human beings...

...just read a newspaper or catch a newscast...

...but we don't hear much about the distressing plight of many of the animals that share this planet with us.

As I write this my mangy old cat is curled up asleep in the middle of my desk.

A few minutes ago he was sitting and staring at me when I was while reading about the torturous way we kill animals; in particular, pigs.

My old cat isn't much to look at. To be perfectly honest, he's pretty ugly.

Like me, he's accumulated quite a few battle scars over the years.

But one thing I'm sure about; he has feelings.

He feels pain; he experiences fear.

Beyond that, I think he may even have some positive feelings toward me. I'd like to think so anyway.

Why else would he sleep next to me on my bed every night or regularly curl up on my lap?

And why else would he proudly bring me a mouse that he's caught and put it down in front of me for my approval?

And that's just, in the words of one person, a "stupid cat."

I spent a bit of time on a farm as a kid and I found that in spite of all their ugliness and bad habits, pigs have even more intelligence and awareness than cats.

As I read about the way some pigs are torturously slaughtered, I wonder how any human being worthy of the name could be so callously unfeeling, so totally oblivious to the pain and suffering of any animal...

...the same people who reach for a pain reliever whenever they encounter slight pain in their own lives.

And it's not just pigs.

The way we kill a variety of animals for their fur is just as horrendous.

I'll will spare you the details. If it bothers me to think about it, it would be worse to write about it.

Fortunately, the media is starting to bring this to the attention to the public — the same public that has preferred not to know about it.

When I was a kid I got a BB gun for Christmas. I immediately set out to rid my neighborhood of birds. I killed quite a few.

Soon, it got to bothering me...

...so much, in fact, that I ask the minister of my church if it was wrong.

He thought about it and said, "No, most birds are a bit of a nuisance anyway."

Having watched a few birds die before me, even in my hand, and having watched a few birds look for their mates for days — mates that I had killed — I somehow knew otherwise.

I guess it was right then that I started doubting the judgment of "God's appointed messengers."

As I write this my cat is again sitting on my desk staring at me.

As I look at him I feel guilty...

...as if I should apologize for the incredibly insensitive and unfeeling acts our "more intelligent" species has subjected "dumb" animals to.

Rev. Falwell, please do everyone a favor...

...see a psychologist about your paranoid homophobia, and once you get over that...

...focus your considerable influence and resources on things that are real...

...like the unnecessary pain and suffering experienced each day by all of God's creatures....

...men, women, children...

...and even pigs.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.