If Cecil the lion doesn’t matter to you, you’re missing the point

There are so many terrible things going on in the world. I can name a few without even thinking.

ISIS. Hunger. Poverty. Aids. Cancer. Domestic violence. Genocide. I’m not going to name them all, because that would take up my entire blog and then some. And these terrible things are worth getting mad over. They’re worth the attention and the conversation and the motivation to change things. They’re worth caring about.

But the other day when a dentist named Walter Palmer from Minneapolis poached a lion named Cecil that was known and well-loved by an African community, a large amount of people (aside from those upset by it) from all over the world seemed outraged that people would be so furious over the death of a lion when “God forbid!” there are children dying of malaria.

cecil the lion

Bloggers and columnists had a hay day with it, preaching about how ridiculous it is to talk about dead lions when there are bigger fish to fry and bigger tears to cry.

I can’t help but roll my eyes at how ridiculous us humans can be and how narrow minded. I can be mortified at child sex slavery in southeastern Asia and still have enough room in my heart to be disgusted that lions and giraffes and elephants and bengal tigers are lured out of game reserves or hunted on their land all for the sake of being “prizes” that serve to shock and sicken us on our Facebook walls. Before Cecil’s famous death, there have been countless incidences of poaching and it has been a PROBLEM. This isn’t a new issue here.

giraffe hunter

For years now I’ve been teased that I’m a tree hugger and I finally learned to take it in stride because– well, maybe I am. I think that deforestation is a huge issue that needs to be resolved. Poaching sickens me and needs to be stopped and prosecuted much strongly than it is. We need to take greater strides to reduce our carbon footprints, cut the plastic six pack rings before tossing it, and clean up after ourselves after a day on the beach. Walk more than you drive and donate to causes that protect land and wildlife. Get outraged when men and women with enough money for a plane ticket to Africa slaughter endangered animals and then say they “used all the meat”.

Getting caught in an improperly discarded six-pack ring resulted in a deformed shell for Peanut the turtle, who is now displayed as part of the state's anti-litter campaign launched Monday.

Hunting or slaughtering for food is necessary. I won’t shame that or disrespect you for feeding your family or a community. But it is a shame that there are self-promoting poachers who will pay buckets of money to travel the world only to kill for a thrill and bring back prizes like head hunters. Those people aren’t dying of hunger. They don’t need winter coats. They are simply wiping out bits and pieces of a beautiful world that’s dying a little bit every day. They’re writing the endangered species listswith their very own hands and bragging about it.

tiger

It is possible, contrary to popular belief, to care about these animals and still care an incredible deal about other world issues. They ALL matter. The fallacy of “I won’t get angry because this doesn’t matter as much as genocide” is just as ridiculous as saying a woman in Michigan shouldn’t cry over her husband leaving her because a woman somewhere in Africa just had to bury her third child. Buck up honey, people have it worse. Right?

But that’s where we’re wrong.

It should hurt us–everything that hurts another life. These issues should be enough for us to talk about it and vote and write and support the things that aim to heal it. As cheesy as it may sound, actively caring makes a difference. It convinces and touches and persuades and carries around the world quicker than you can imagine. There’s no need to compare issues and choose just one. That would be missing the point of being stewards over this earth.

earth satellite

In the very first book and chapter of the Bible we hear God’s commandment for our earth. It’s in the FIRST chapter. It must be pretty important.

Genesis 1:26-28 states, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Dominion means to have authority and control over something. It’s mentioned several times in the scriptures, even when explaining the dominion that parents have over young children. This shows that dominion isn’t a loose term. It’s responsibility. Respect for what keeps us breathing and eating and revolving. It admonishes us to maintain balance and to nurture resources. Dominion, in my opinion, is a great form of love.

whale

The responsibility of our earth, our animals, our people, and the very air we breathe was given to us before we were even born into it. So why do we treat it so lightly? And why is it last on our priority list because there are “so many other issues”?

Cecil the lion is a symbol of something dark that affects us. Human trafficking victims speak out to warn us of something that affects us. Smog covered cities and disappearing ice caps and tents with shivering bodies under overpasses scream from the very ground we stand on. It all affects us simply because this is our home and these are our walls and our people and our dominion.

Proverbs 12:10 blatantly says, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” and Psalm 50:10 says, “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.”

Taking life–whether it be an animal’s or a human’s or the very earth itself–shouldn’t be a cheap thrill and a set of bones on a mantle. That isn’t the dominion we were given.

That sick control gets me angry–angry enough to blog about it and read about it and pray about it–angry simply because of how strongly I care.

cecil the lion

Call me a hippie or a tree hugger or “going green”. There’s so many labels nowadays for people who decide this world matters.

Wear your label with pride, whatever gets YOUR feathers ruffled. Care about it passionately and demand change every day of your life through how you live and what you support or buy or what you choose to stay away from.

Because it ALL matters.

It really, really does.

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15 thoughts on “If Cecil the lion doesn’t matter to you, you’re missing the point

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post! I’ve heard that scripture so many times but never stopped to think about the term Dominion before but I agree it has to mean respect and responsibility and caring for because as you say that is how we should treat our children. I’ve learnt something new.

    Angela from http://www.daysinbed.com

  2. I think God createf animals for us for food and survival needs, but not to kill just for sport. I agree that it is okay to be unhappy about the killing of Cecil but what I don’t get is why people are furious about a lion they didn’t even know existed being killed but are perfectly okay with letting their tax dollars go towards killing the unborn and harvesting their organs?

  3. This is how I feel things. It was good reading your blog and feel good about the things I try to do, to make a better world. Thank you for your blogs on “all our lemony things”.

  4. I agree that poaching animals is wrong. I’m disgusted with what happened to Cecil.

    But I see a lot of people furious about Cecil, while at the same time, defending Planned Parenthood. They mock those who think abortion is wrong, but literally want to kill someone who poached a lion. The problem with our society is that they have more respect for the lives of animals than they do for the lives of people. THAT is my problem with this situation.

    And the people say that we need to separate the issues are missing the point entirely.

    Killing ONE lion= Execute the person who did it!

    Killing MILLIONS of babies= Meh, no big deal. They are just a blob of cells at that point.

    Cutting up those babies and selling the parts for profit (which is illegal)= We are just trying to help the research.

    The problem isn’t people being upset about the violent killing of a lion. The problem is that there are people who are upset about a lion, while they literally care nothing for the violent killings of babies Every. Single. Day. Some of which are born alive, and left to die.

    Both situations are repugnant. But I want the people who are upset about Cecil to be just as outraged for those babies.

  5. Let’s remember that every state in our country has a dept that manages game and fish. They sell and auction licenses to hunt and fish legally. They don’t do this for the recreation alone. Sport hunting serves a natural goal of food Web balance. Many hunt as a sport In this country and i doubt that it would even make the news if a hunter shot a Grizzly 10 feet outside a preserve In Alaska or Yellowstone. Poaching is different. It is hunting at a time or place not allowed. A lot of good, law abiding people, Temple recommend holding people don’t just hunt, but hang a deer head on their wall or a bear skin on their floor. Don’t quote a scripture like it makes sport hunting immoral. The only source for morality is God and no apostle has ever condemned it and it isn’t a question on the temple recommend interview. We are responsible for everything we speak in the name of God, and when you use scripture to support a moral argument, you are putting words in His mouth that no apostle ever has? That’s no liberty I would ever take

  6. I don’t know why this didn’t post the first time.
    Let’s remember that every state in our country has a dept that manages game and fish. They sell and auction licenses to hunt and fish legally. They don’t do this for the recreation alone. Sport hunting serves a natural goal of food Web balance. Many hunt as a sport In this country and i doubt that it would even make the news if a hunter shot a Grizzly 10 feet outside a preserve In Alaska or Yellowstone. Poaching is different. It is hunting at a time or place not allowed. A lot of good, law abiding, Temple recommend holding people don’t just hunt, but hang a deer head on their wall or a bear skin on their floor. Don’t quote a scripture like it makes sport hunting immoral. The only source for morality is God and no apostle has ever condemned it. It isn’t even a question on the temple recommend interview.

    I have no problem with people thinking sport hunting is immoral, but in the church we know how to differentiate between our spiritual opinions and established gospel. We are responsible for everything we speak in the name of God, and when you use that scripture to support a moral argument, you are putting words in His mouth that no apostle ever has? That’s no liberty I would ever take

  7. Ps. This blog was put on the map by the Kate Kelly/Ordain Women controversy. Wasn’t her only real mistakes speaking doctrine as truth that wasn’t yet revealed and then publicly campaigning for it? How is you saying that scripture teaches hunting for sport is immoral any different than Kelly saying that women are supposed to be ordained?

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