Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Deer Hunter

No, I am not going to rehash that movie from the '80s. I came across a surprising article in the paper today ... surprising because of its location. Right there, on the front page of the Religion section, was a story about a "male bonding" group that involves adult men taking young boys deer hunting.

The article talked about how the adult leader instructed the boys, "Pray that God will bring us a deer." Then, the article says, their prayers were answered. Next we get a play-by-play of the adult instructing the boy to aim carefully, steady his rifle, and whispering in his ear, "Now squeeze the trigger." Finally, we are given a detailed description of the bullet whistling along until it finds its intended target -- the deer's kill zone.

That's just wrong.

I want to say right here and now that I love red meat and own many leather products. I do not spray paint people who wear fur (although I don't own any myself) nor do I consider myself anything remotely close to an animal activist. I just don't care for deer hunting; and certainly not as an experience for bringing us closer to our Creator.

I know the book of Genesis says that man was given dominion over all the birds of the air and the fish in the sea and the creatures in the field. I just think that hiding up in a deer blind, waiting for a less intelligent member of the species to wander by, constitutes something other than exercising our dominion over creation.

My younger daughter reminded me this morning that today was the one year anniversary of our miniature schnauzer's death. (Little girls keep track of these things.) I was given dominion over that little pup and through some carelessness, participated in her parting from this world. I took it hard when it happened. Dominion or not, there is a certain sanctity for life that should be observed on some level for all of creation.

Of course, I suppose I need to stop being a hypocrite and start eating tofu and greens in place T-bone steaks. I'm told if I ever saw how cattle are slaughtered, deer hunting would seem like a tea party in comparison. And I'm certain this is true. But darned if those animals don't taste good.

Hearing my take on the article in the Religion section, my husband remarked, "At least they eat them." He went on to explain that deer hunting performs the needed task of population control, saying that man had already killed all their natural predators. "If we didn't kill them, they'd kill themselves." Playing along with his statement, I added, "And we're killing all the stupid ones, thereby perpetuating a more intelligent species." "Yeah," he concluded, "Someday they'll evolve to the point where they will be hunting us."

So if you want to go deer hunting, OK, I'll keep my comments to myself. I'll even accept a parcel of venison. Just please don't pray for God to bring you a deer!

Copyright 2008 Just Enough Grace Publications

No comments: