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Rev. DeVries is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Wingham, Ontario, Canada.

We are presently witnessing an appalling display of who or what shall be granted “rights.” On the one hand, the lack of regard for human life today is sickening. It could be considered from many perspectives—from the efforts in many places to legalize euthanasia, to the terrorist bombings that kill and maim scores of innocent bystanders. Apparently some would go so far as to question the right of most of the human race to exist. The May 2006 issue ofThe Interim, Canada’s Life and Family Newspaper, included the headline, “Scientist advocates elimination of 90 per cent of the human race.” Eli Schuster reports:

It’s hardly a stretch to say that the near-extermination of humankind isn’t a popular idea among the public. If any politician ever dared to dismiss humanity as “fat, human biomass” and advocated the destruction of 90 per cent of the world’s population from the dreaded Ebola virus (an 80-90 per cent lethal disease, which inflicts horrible suffering upon its victims, whose internal organs eventually liquefy), he or she would immediately be hounded out of public life. Today, the only fans of such an apocalyptic future are on the margins of society: a few neo-Nazis, the followers of Osama bin Laden, and—it would seem—the Texas Academy of Science. 

Speaking at the 109th meeting of the Academy at Lamar University in Beaumont TX on March 3-5 of this year, biologist and lizard expert Dr. Eric Pianka delivered a frightening lecture in which he claimed that humans are “no better than bacteria” and that the Earth’s ecosystem would not survive without the near-extermination of humanity to just 10 per cent of its present number.

According to computer expert Forrest Mims III, who attended the lecture and took copious notes, Pianka claimed the AIDS virus was too slow for such a job and stated a preference for airborne Ebola, although he added: “You know, the bird flu’s good, too.” 

In an online article titled, “Meeting Doctor Doom,” at The Citizen Scientist, Mims writes that Pianka made his points with a slide show that included an image of “human skulls towering on the screen behind him” and told his audience, “We’ve got airborne 90 per cent mortality in humans. Killing humans. Think about that.”

Pianka also praised Communist China’s one-child policy, on the grounds that “smarter people have fewer kids” than the ignorant masses and suggested that “we need to sterilize everybody on the Earth.” 

But far from being dismissed as a nutty professor, Mims added that Pianka actually received “loud, vigorous and enthusiastic applause” from the assembled scientists at the end of his speech and later took a plaque that recognized his being named the Academy’s 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist….

The horror of abortion continues to make the news. With today’s technology, screening for various diseases or birth defects is possible, which is in many cases leading to the aborting of all but the perfect baby. Similarly shocking are sex-selection abortions. Increasingly, unborn baby girls are being denied their “rights.” Today’s Family News, May 30, 2006, reports in an article entitled, “Canada’s Missing Daughters”:

Abortion clinics in Canada are accommodating women seeking to terminate pregnancies for no apparent reason other than gender preference. 

Documents obtained by Calgary’s Western Standard magazine reportedly confirm anecdotal evidence that communities around Toronto and in B.C.’s Lower Mainland with a high proportion of immigrants from China and India have significantly more baby boys than girls. Sons are said to be favoured because they continue the family name and are presumably better able to support their parents. 

“Compared to other areas of Canada,” reporter Andrea Mrozek stated, “the deviation is as obvious as it is sobering. To put all of it into perspective, since the communities mentioned above have seen hundreds of thousands of live births in the last decade, the number of missing daughters may be somewhere in the thousands.” 

One internal document from the B.C. Women’s Hospital in Vancouver dated earlier this year, said Mrozek, deals with a presentation to health care workers on how to respond to “implicit or even express requests” for sex-selection abortions. Perhaps most notably, it reveals the moral ambiguity many abortion providers feel over sex selection. On the one hand, it acknowledges that these procedures, among other things, “violate the principle of equality between males and females.” And yet it rationalizes the need to provide them by claiming that “not allowing sex selection causes increased harm to women who must endure repeated pregnancies in efforts to have a son.” Nor was it clear “if banning sex selection will benefit women.” 

“If people want it, we’ll do it,” a woman identified only as a “front-line clinic worker” told the Western Standard. A position paper by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada goes even further in its defense of sex-selection abortions.

“Being pro-choice means supporting a woman’s right to decide whether or not to continue a pregnancy for whatever reason, even if one personally does not agree with her reason,” it states. 

Rather than deny women an abortion solely because their unborn child happens to be of the “wrong” gender, the coalition suggests that the “root issue is the value and respect—or lack of value and respect—that society and certain cultures give to girls and women” and that the “answer lies in education … not in restricting abortion.” 

The irony of such reasoning has not escaped pro-lifers. 

“The (feminist) National Action Committee on the Status of Women must have a heck of a time with this one,” said Joanne McGarry, executive director of the Catholic Civil Rights League. “All that successful lobbying on the slogan ‘the issue is choice,’ only to discover that for some, the choice is to eliminate the girls.”

On the other hand, if you are a harp seal, you have a multitude of passionate supporters. Tony Gosgnach writes in The Interim, May 2006, under the headline, “Big Media Fret Over Seal Hunt”:

It’s being called an issue that has few rivals in terms of controversy in Canada and around the world. It’s dominated by bloody images, heated rhetoric and impassioned defenses on both sides. Few facts go unchallenged. Language becomes a tool, as words become weapons of outrage or instruments of reassurance. 

Abortion? Nope. The annual Canadian seal hunt. 

The description above comes from an “In Depth” feature about the seal hunt on CBC New’s website. This feature includes a photo of a harp seal, a series of questions and answers, quick facts and links to related articles and other websites. Perhaps no other situation better illustrates the irrelevancy and bias of contemporary news media, particularly in Canada, than this one—in which the seal hunt is regularly given lengthy, consistent and prominent coverage in all forms of media, while death and tragedy involving human beings is relegated to secondary importance. 

Note that in comparison, CBC New’s “In Depth” feature on abortion is dominated by a photo of Henry Morgentaler and a timeline of his efforts to overturn Canadian abortion regulations, as if he is the one and only face of the abortion issue in Canada and his story is all that matters. Other crucial, relevant facts are carefully omitted, such as the toll of abortion on the financial state of the Canadian health system, the psychological and physiological damage done to women and the deleterious effects abortion has had on this country’s birthrate and consequently, our social safety net and labour pool…. 

Unfortunately, matters aren’t any better with respect to news media outside Canada, which have spotlighted the involvement in the seal hunt of celebrities such as Paul McCartney and Brigitte Bardot. Our seal hunt situation has garnered significant coverage from such international media outlets as CNN, which terms it “much-criticized” and a “slaughter,” and the BBC, (“Images of hunters clubbing infant seals horrified TV viewers across the world”). 

A summation of the overall situation must point out that mainstream media clearly place the lives of harp seals above those of human beings—an unconscionable state of affairs, to be sure, but also a very real one….

You’ve likely heard the expression, “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” If that is true, you are also in a very favorable position in the world today. Monkeys (more specifically, gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans) are being given rights. Spain is reportedly considering support for the right to “freedom and life” for great apes, which would make it the first world legislature to grant rights to non-human entities.Today’s Family News, June 21, 2006 reports on this monkey business:

Spanish parliamentarians are seriously considering a motion aimed at extending “human-like rights” to great apes such as gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans, BBC News reported. If passed, it would make Spain the first nation in the world to give its moral backing to the Seattlebased Great Ape Project. It vows “to end the unconscionable treatment of our nearest living relatives by obtaining for non-human great apes the fundamental moral and legal protections of the right to life, the freedom from arbitrary deprivation of liberty, and protection from torture.” 

Green MP Francisco Garrido, who sits with Spain’s governing Socialist coalition, proposed the motion. He claimed that because apes are genetically “so close to humans,” they deserve to be treated as more than “mere objects or play things.” “The great apes have been tortured, mistreated, enslaved and murdered,” he said. “The habitats where (they) live have been wiped out and, according to the UN, they are in serious danger of extinction.” 

London’s Daily Telegraph reported that Garrido’s motion will be debated by the parliament’s environment committee at the end of the month, where he expects it to pass. If that happens, it appears that the next step will be a proposed law that would place great apes under the “moral guardianship” of the state. According to Garrido, it would be in much the same way that the state presently looks after children in care, the severely handicapped and people in comas. The law would also declare that great apes currently in Spanish zoos be moved to government-built “sanctuaries,” unless to do so would harm their emotional welfare. Mistreating or killing a great ape—except in cases of self-defense or euthanasia—would become a crime. 

But the whole notion of granting human-like rights to apes is not without its critics. “As most people know,” British geneticist Steve Jones told the Daily Telegraph, “chimpanzees share about 98 percent of our DNA, but bananas share about 50 percent of our DNA and we are not 98 percent chimpanzee or 50 percent banana. We are entirely human and unique in that respect.” “It is simply a mistake,” he added, “to use an entirely human construct, which is rights, and apply it to an animal, which is not human. Rights come with responsibility and I’ve never seen a chimp being fined for stealing a plate of bananas.” Only a society that is “ridiculous or distorted” could propose such a law, Fernando Sebastian, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Pamplona and Tudela, told the BBC. “We don’t give rights to some people—such as unborn children, human embryos—and we are going to give them to apes.”

Such is the fiasco in a world largely given over to evolutionism and steeped in corruption. On the one hand, in the perilous times of these last days we see that men are without natural affection (II Tim. 3:1-3). There is a sickening rejection of even their own offspring in rampant abortion and child neglect and abuse.

On the other hand, there is today the disgusting exaltation of the animal world to a position equal to or above man. You are undoubtedly acquainted with the outrageous campaigns and protests of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Animals are deemed pure and innocent. The New York Times has reported that the behavior and enormous brains of dolphins “suggest an intelligence approaching that of human beings or even, some might argue, surpassing it.”

Do not misunderstand; I’m not a heartless animal hater. On the contrary, with my roots on the farm, I have a genuine affection and concern for animals. I am the at-times-reluctant owner (not guardian) of a cat and a dog. But “animal rights” is, I believe, a deliberately deceiving and misleading notion.

The whole idea of “rights” is a humanistic concept that becomes more and more perverted as time goes on, even with regard to humans. Fallen, depraved humanity doesn’t have “inalienable rights,” not even a “right to life” before the holy God of heaven and earth. We deserve only death and damnation. Much less do animals have or deserve “rights.” They ought be given proper care and protection from abuse or maltreatment, but not “rights.” “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” (Gen. 1:26).