Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Bill Donohue, Ph.D

2/7/2014 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Ironically, the Harvard institute dedicated to expanding fundamental rights doesn't include the rights of the unborn-unborn humans, I should specify. Nor does Princeton's established interest in human values extend to boys and girls in utero. But both Centers are very sensitive to orangutans.

For many decades, Steven Wise has been promoting the rights of apes. To be specific, he would like to see chimpanzees awarded "legal personhood." He is most known for championing the Great Ape Legal Project, seeking to represent little King Kongs in court. Last month, on December 2, he got a little closer to his dream: he filed a writ of habeas corpus in New York State Supreme Court for Tommy, saying the ape is being held unlawfully by his owners.Wise credits Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, with inspiring him. Singer also champions the Great Ape Legal Project, and he contends that gorillas should have the same rights as humans. But this is where it gets tricky: he also thinks it should be perfectly legal for parents to kill their children up until 28 days after birth (I'm sure that if he were pressed, he would round it off to a month).

Bill Donohue and King Kong

Bill Donohue and King Kong

Highlights

By Bill Donohue, Ph.D

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/7/2014 (7 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: PETA, Animal Rights, Right to Life, Abortion, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Bill Donohue, Right to Life, Peter Singer, Steven Wise, The Catalyst, Catholic League


NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) - For many decades, Steven Wise has been promoting the rights of apes. To be specific, he would like to see chimpanzees awarded "legal personhood." He is most known for championing the Great Ape Legal Project, seeking to represent little King Kongs in court. Last month, on December 2, he got a little closer to his dream: he filed a writ of habeas corpus in New York State Supreme Court for Tommy, saying the ape is being held unlawfully by his owners.

Wise credits Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, with inspiring him. Singer also champions the Great Ape Legal Project, and he contends that gorillas should have the same rights as humans. But this is where it gets tricky: he also thinks it should be perfectly legal for parents to kill their children up until 28 days after birth (I'm sure that if he were pressed, he would round it off to a month).

Wise teaches at Harvard and Singer teaches at Princeton. Moreover, they have been awarded titles that tell us a great deal about at these Ivy League institutions: Wise is the founder of Harvard's Center for the Expansion of Fundamental Rights, and Singer teaches at Princeton's Center for Human Values. Ironically, the Harvard institute dedicated to expanding fundamental rights doesn't include the rights of the unborn-unborn humans, I should specify. Nor does Princeton's established interest in human values extend to boys and girls in utero. But both Centers are very sensitive to orangutans.

How did we get to this state of affairs? The anniversary of Roe v. Wade  is upon us, and while more Americans are pro-life than ever before, in many quarters-not just in elite universities-the rights of animals trump the rights of kids.

A decent society will protect animals from abuse, but it makes no sense to award them rights. Animal welfare is a noble cause, one that St. Francis pioneered, but animals at every stage of life are incapable of exercising responsibilities, and cannot therefore be held morally culpable for destructive behaviors. A decent society will award infants with human rights, a cause first pioneered in history by the Catholic Church; it will also grant rights to human life from its beginning, namely at fertilization.

There is nothing new about animal welfare in the U.S. In 1900, the Lacy Act was passed, protecting bald eagles by making it a federal offense to take, possess, transport, sell, import, or export their nests, eggs and parts that are taken in violation of any state, tribal or U.S. law. No one has ever found this to be controversial; if the goal is to protect a species, it makes sense to do so from the beginning of life. Well, humans have nests and eggs-we call them wombs and zygotes. At least back then they didn't say the birds possessed rights; they simply took preventative measures to safeguard their welfare.

We got to this perverse stage where human life is devalued, and animal life is overvalued, when rights mania gripped the nation in the 1960s. It started  with good intentions: the civil rights movement, led by Rev. Martin Luther King, was long overdue. But in its wake came a never-ending series of demands, including rights for prisoners, delinquents, miscreant students, and illegal aliens. Abortion was illegal, but feminist stirrings to legalize it had begun; in 1973, they won. Two years later, Singer's Animal Liberation was published. The timing was not coincidental.

Unborn kids lost not because they cannot represent themselves; neither can chimps. No, they lost because rights mania was tied to the cultural celebration of narcissism: self-centered women, and especially single men, want sex without consequences, and that means a preference for abortion-on-demand. It also suits their self-absorption to comfort themselves with pets. That is why women with kids in strollers are an uncommon sight in cities, but men and women walking their dogs-or those paid to walk them-is so common.

in 2001, Wayne Pacelle, senior vice president of the Humane Society, stood up for the rights of pigs. It was one thing for him to say that pigs deserve more space to move around, but it was quite another to learn that he invoked human values. "Emotionally," he said, "they experience severe boredom and emotional trauma." That's exactly how I feel when watching MSNBC, but I'm able to get over it. So can Porky.

Forgive me for sounding cynical, but just a few years ago I debated an official from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on CNN. I asked her how she could pretend to be interested in animals when it is an indisputable fact (see the report by the Center for Consumer Freedom) that PETA kills 95 percent of the adoptable pets in its care. She refused to answer, even though I pressed her a second time.

Don't get me wrong. Personally, I love dogs. But I also love children. We should be able to attend to the needs of dogs while at the same time protecting the rights of the unborn. It's not a zero-sum game. But if Tommy gets human rights, I hope the big ape takes my place the next time I'm called for jury duty.

--

The Catholic League is the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. Founded in 1973 by the late Father Virgil C. Blum, S.J., the Catholic League defends the right of Catholics - lay and clergy alike - to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination. It is led by its' President, William A. Donohue, Ph.D. This article first appeared in its Journal, The Catalyst, in the January - February Edition and is used with permission.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Our Age Need Rebels of Love: The Christian Church is the Real Counterculture Watch

Image of As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. As I studied the early Church fathers I came to understand that the true humanism is authentic Christianity, the kind professed, in word and deed, by the early Christians. As I read early Church history I was brought back to the mother church of the entire Christian movement, the Catholic Church. I came to believe that she offers the theological anthropology, ecclesiology and world view of the early fathers of the Church. I also came to believe that she was the real counterculture.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We can - we will - change the culture of the contemporary West, if we are willing to suffer, struggle and offer ourselves to the Lord for the task. His power, the power of the Holy Spirit, working through us, will accomplish what we can never accomplish on our ... continue reading


What is a Catholic Deacon? Bishop Kevin Rhoades Gives the Answer Watch

Image of The Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, presiding over the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate of six new Holy Cross Deacons

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

It is a privilege to ordain you permanent deacons.  No, I didn't make a mistake.  Don't worry: you are scheduled to be ordained priests next year by Bishop Jenky!  But what happens today in the sacrament of Orders is not something transitional; it ... continue reading


ISIS among us! New York man sought to kill Iraq war veterans Watch

Image of Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old, Yemeni born man who lived in New York, attempted to send three people to Iraq to fight for the Islamic State, and purchase firearms to kill veterans from the Iraq War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni born food store owner in upstate New York sent funding to the Islamic State and attempted to sent three jihadists to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist cell while plotting to perpetrate attacks against American troops who had served in Iraq. LOS ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone: 16433 Children Buried in One Grave Watch

Image of Fr. Pavone prays at the graveside of the children

By Fr. Frank Pavone

For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a ... continue reading


Nice try! Democrats try to distance themselves from Obama for midterm, but it's too late! Watch

Image of Kentucky Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, seen here with a shotgun in an ad where she attempts to distance herself from the disastrous and unpopular policies of President Barack Obama.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, is trying her best to let Kentuckians know that she is certainly not an Obama Democrat, releasing a campaign ad where she wields a gun to prove it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Grimes' 30-second ad takes place in ... continue reading


Are terrorists invading the US through the open border with Mexico? Watch

Image of The Islamic State nay already have sympathizers and cells within the USA. The porous border does nothing to aid the situation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Americans are worried that the Islamic State will soon conduct terror attacks within the U.S., inserting agents via the porous border between the states and Mexico. At least one sheriff has told the media he received an official alert while the federal government is ... continue reading


'We'll send them to hell!' Texas sheriff declares war on Islamic State Watch

Image of Texas sheriff Gary Painter reveals that he believes the Islamic State has already infiltrated the U.S. through the porous southern border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Law enforcement agencies along the U.S.-Mexico border have received alerts to be on the lookout for terrorists from Islamic State attempting to cross into the United States, a sheriff from the region has said. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Midland County ... continue reading


And you thought you had bad traffic! Tropical storm strands thousands in Nevada Watch

Image of Heavy rain washed out numerous portions of Nevada's critical I-15, leaving many drivers stranded or forced to take roundabout backways.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what may be the area's worst storm in decades, a 2-mile-long stretch of highway in Moapa Nevada was destroyed by four inches of rain that occurred in just an hour, part of the end of Tropical Storm Norbert. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The rain caused ... continue reading


What do you do when a man takes off with millions in sunken treasure? Watch

Image of Gold coins recovered from the SS Central America.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the past two years, U.S. marshals have been on the hunt for Tommy Thompson, the man who made the greatest lost treasure discovery in American history back in 1988. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Thompson has been on the run as a fugitive after he skipped a ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 12:31--13:13
31 Set your mind on the higher gifts. And now I am ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:2-3, 4-5, 12, 22
2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:31-35
31 'What comparison, then, can I find for the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 17th, 2014 Image

St. Robert Bellarmine
September 17: Born at Montepulciano, Italy, October 4, 1542, St. Robert ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter