Saturday, August 20, 2005

Animals Need Not Apply

P.E.T.A, was reexamining its plans in light of the criticism they had received, according to an Associated Press article on 14 August. P.E.T.A. stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The organization had managed to offend the NAACP ( National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ) and earlier in the year some Jewish groups. I found the article worthy of note for what it did not say.

On a nationwide tour the group used images of animal abuse alongside pictures of black people in chains or being lynched, clearly trying to draw similarities. As well, PETA compared Jewish suffering during the Holocaust to what currently happens to "factory animals."

The NAACP was angered by what they claim was drawing comparisons between black people and animals, something that has occurred all too often in the U.S. and elsewhere for hundreds of years. Without a doubt this was not the most effective way to persuade people of the very real abuses inflicted upon animals--by humans. But does this bring to light an even larger, more important point? I think so.

More than thirty years ago Lynn White Jr., a professor of Medieval History, said, "We shall continue to have a worsening ecologic crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man." This one sentence in a short essay the professor wrote started a spirited debate. Sides can easily be staked out. Professor White went on to say that "Human ecology is deeply conditioned by beliefs about our nature and destiny--that is, by religion." Of course.

The theological explanations are lengthy, the "spiritual" theme versus the "ecological" theme, meaning in simple terms those folks that can't wait to escape to the ether and commune with the entity, and those other people that believe God's presence can be celebrated in the world of nature--in the here and now--right on planet Earth. The latter would fall into the stewardship camp.

At the present time the stewardship crowd, certainly within Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, is largely invisible, impotent, and probably irrelevant. Professor White, however, believed that the "answers" to our ecological problems will likely come from religion, because these problems result from particular religious viewpoints. Hope does spring eternal.

Some 600 years ago Henry II of England said, in reference to his former friend and drinking companion Thomas a Becket, "Will no one rid me of this priest?" The rest is history. I would offer the following plea: Will no one rid this planet of putrid fundamentalism? We are all animals.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Searching for Enterprise

Have you ever looked at the F.B.I.'s Ten Most Wanted List? With the exception of Bin Laden, the current list is a miserable collection of child molesters, drug dealers, and common murderers, knuckle-draggers one and all. The fact that Bin Laden is on the list seems more for show than anything else. Cave boy deserves his own special site.

What prompted my curiosity was an article I read in AlterNet. Tre Arrow (born Michael Scaripilli) is an American currently living in Canada and fighting F.B.I. extradition back to the U.S. on charges that he is an eco-terrorist. He's alleged to have been involved in the bombings of logging and gravel trucks in Oregon three or four years ago. Mr. Arrow denies involvement in any bombing.

In 2003 Mr. Scaripilli was on the F.B.I's infamous list, with a $25,000 reward on his head. In the U.S. he currently faces a minimum of 40 years to life if the government can prove he was involved in the bombings.

But how did this Tre Arrow manage to get on "the" list? Did he murder ... torture ... kidnap ... maim--or attempt to kill anyone? No, but he apparently infuriated the "wrong" people. And where did the term "eco-terrorist" come from in the first place?

A few years ago Senator James Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Environmental Committee and no friend of the environmental movement in general, held hearings in Washington. No one is going to accuse the senator from Oklahoma of having a scintillating intellect, but he'd scheduled public hearings because he knew there was "a growing network of support for extremists like the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front." These environmental activists were dangerous and had to be watched according to the numerous witnesses, including the F.B.I.

A couple of months ago an ex-F.B.I. agent, as reported in Democracy News, who had worked in the area of domestic terrorism, stated that white supremacists groups are clearly the major terrorist threat in the United States. Well, where to next?

Pick a search engine and type in "American free enterprise." I went to Goggle and pulled up more than 100,000 possibilities. You'll find everything from Ayn Rand to assorted militia groups, my favorite being the ones that are on the lookout for the omnipresent "black" helicopters sent by the United Nations to enslave America and, of course, take away our homes and our guns.

But by far, the most intriguing groups are the numerous "conservative" think tanks, specifically the ones who claim to be independent and guardians of American capitalism. Environmentalism appears to be one of their principal concerns and a perceived danger to our republic.

Further wandering through the labyrinth of the faithful, I came across the name Ron Arnold, possibly the man that may have coined the term eco-terrorist. The Boston Globe reported on January 13, 1992 that Mr. Arnold once said, "We are sick to death of environmentalism and so we will destroy it. We will not allow our right to own property and use nature's resources for the benefit of mankind to be stripped from us by a bunch of eco-fascists."

An interesting web site, for anyone curious about the money, is

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)
[Simon and Garfunkel Lyrics Mrs. Robinson]