Bob was driving across country with a friend, a friend who happened to be a devout Christian. En route, Bob unfortunately hit a cat, not killing it, but very badly injuring it. It was an accident; it was unintentional.
Being a responsible person, he pulled over, went back and found the cat in extremis, as they say - in severe pain and agony. His passenger, the Christian, asked him what he was doing.
He explained that the cat was in extreme pain, with no chance of recovery and that he was going to kill it. Killing it, after all, was the only humane thing that a person could do. Somehow, the Christian was appalled at that and told Bob in no uncertain terms about his feelings. He told Bob that killing the cat was “unChristian” and that taking the cat out of its misery and pain that otherwise would continue for hours was horrible.
Bob, a humane and responsible person, humanely killed the cat that otherwise would have suffered through hours of pain and agony before finally dying. Bob paid for this for a few more days en route to jobs for him and his passenger both headed to the west coast. The ride was punctuated by deliberate silence by the Christian or a constant recounting of the horror and lack of Christian mercy with Bob in killing the cat.
The two parted ways with new jobs in teaching, not to see each other again. Well, Bob did get a final note from his passenger.
On Christmas, Bob got a Christmas card, full of the sayings and spirit of the Christmas season and a cover picture of snow, decorated Christmas trees and such to go with the Christian spirit of the birth of Jesus.
Inside, above the signature of Bob’s riding acquaintance, were three words. The words were, “I forgive you,” an obvious reference to the Christian’s view of Bob’s horrible act of eliminating the pain of an injured cat.
My friend Bob was understandably outraged by this. He received forgiveness for eliminating the pain of an animal? He received Christian forgiveness for what? What is Christian about doing the only humane thing possible for a poor injured animal? It is humane, period. He had done what any caring person would have done under similar circumstances. Seriously – what is wrong with Christian thinking?
To ignore an injured animal, regardless of the circumstances, is not Christian. In fact, it should be taught as the opposite or antithesis of any Christian thought of being kind to others including both mankind and animals.
Rightly or wrongly, because of the stupid, mean, and cruel attitude of this passenger, Christians did not gain any points that day.
Where is or was the kindness to other creatures? Where is or was the love of man to others through his Christ? Does the Good Samaritan story only apply to humans, or does it – or should it – also apply to animals? Do Christians not care about other creatures in this world that we share with flora and fauna?
If a Christian does not care about an injured cat, would a Christian also endorse bull baiting, bear baiting, dog fighting?
Remember that these endeavors of cruel animal sport were opposed by the Puritans not because the Puritans were opposed to animal cruelty. They were opposed because Christian leaders were afraid that Christians might have too much fun watching two dogs tear each other apart.
Here is for simple, caring and humane care of us all, including animals, and for avoiding the callous disregard of pain of an animal as exhibited by Bob’s Christian riding acquaintance.