Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Bill Donohue, Ph.D

2/7/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

'We're going to get through this together': WDBJ stands together the day after the tragic live-shooting of reporter and cameraman Watch

Image of Colleagues hug during the moment of silence for their fallen team members.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

WDBJ-TV station grieves the loss of Alison Parker and Adam Ward the morning after their on-air murders.  Los Angeles, California (Catholic Online) - Thursday morning was emotional, as WDBJ-TV anchor Kim McBroom joined hands with anchor Steve Grand, who came in ... continue reading


Colorado movie theater assassin James Holmes will never step outside of a prison - ever Watch

Image of Obsessed with killing people since he was a teenager, James Holmes said he studied neuroscience in part to fix his own

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On July 20, 2012, James Eagan Holmes, now 27, walked into an Aurora, Colorado movie theater during a late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." He opened fire, killing 12 people and wounded 70. Holmes will never step outside a prison ever again - he was sentenced ... continue reading


Bizarre, twisted story trails behind Virginia TV reporter killer Vester Flanagan Watch

Image of Failed TV news anchor Vester Flanagan was notorious for his

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Stories have come forward regarding 41-year-old former TV news reporter Vester Flanagan, accused in the on-air shooting deaths of 24-year-old WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and 27-year-old camera operator Adam Ward. Flanagan, who committed suicide after the ... continue reading


Vatican did not consent to sponsor Palestinian flag initiative at United Nations Watch

Image of Only member states' flags are currently eligible to fly at U.N. headquarters.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems that certain parties leapt to conclusions too readily... The Vatican has requested that the Palestinian U.N. mission to remove all references to the Holy See from a draft resolution. The Palestinians have put forth a formal request to the U.N. General Assembly ... continue reading


Now legal for police to fly drones armed with weapons in North Dakota Watch

Image of Police drone illustrating abilities to release tear gas from above.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the last-minute push of pro-police lobbyists, it is now legal for the North Dakora law enforcers to fly drones equipped with "less than lethal" weapons such as tasers, pepper spray and tear gas. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - During a hearing in ... continue reading


Catholic hospital forced to bow down before ALCU, will perform sterilization - religious freedom dying in the name of convenience Watch

Image of A Catholic hospital in Redding, CA has been forced to agree to perform a sterilization procedure.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ALCU has succeeded in forcing a Catholic hospital to perform a sterilization procedure in what is certainly a direct affront to religious freedom. More importantly, the case could be a predictor of how the larger issue of religious freedom will play out across the ... continue reading


Pastor talks down would-be shooter with 28 hostages at West Virginia high school Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 14-year-old victim of bullying held 27 students and a teacher at gunpoint. The boy's pastor, Howard Swick, successfully talked the boy down and not a single shot was fired. Los Angeles (Catholic Online) -  An unnamed student at Philip Barbour County High School ... continue reading


Sheriff fights back at atheist's demand to remove 'In God We Trust' from patrol cars Watch

Image of 'In God We Trust' bumper sticker on a patrol car.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson responds to atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation's (FFRF) who demands the sheriff remove "In God We Trust" bumper stickers from all official police patrol cars. Los Angeles, California (Catholic Online) -  FFRF ... continue reading


News station shooter posts 'KILLER'S POINT OF VIEW' video before shooting himself when confronted by police (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO) Watch

Image of Killer, Vester L. Flanagan, posted the 'killer's view' video to his Twitter account.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

News reporter Allison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were killed on live television Wednesday morning in Bridgewater Plaza outside Moneta, Virigina. The woman being interviewed, Vicki Gardner was also shot and is in an unknown condition. The suspected shooter shot ... continue reading


WARNING GRAPHIC FULL VIDEO - Virginia news crew murdered on live television Watch

Image of Alison Parker, 24, was killed this morning as news cameras rolled.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

BREAKING Two journalists have been shot dead on live TV during a news broadcast in Moneta, Virginia early this morning. The shooter escaped and police have not announced any suspects. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Two journalists were shot dead on live TV this ... 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 Thessalonians 4:1-8
1 Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 97:1, 2, 5-6, 10, 11-12
1 Yahweh is king! Let earth rejoice, the many isles ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:1-13
1 'Then the kingdom of Heaven will be like this: Ten ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 28th, 2015 Image

St. Augustine of Hippo
August 28: St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his ... 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