Last week, a 12,000-pound SeaWorld Orlando orca killed trainer Dawn Brancheau while she swam in the tank. The orca, named Tilikum, had been involved in violent episodes in the past, including an incident in 1991 when “Tilikum and two female killer whales dragged trainer Keltie Byrne underwater, drowning her in front of spectators at Sealand of the Pacific, a defunct aquarium in Victoria, British Columbia.” Tilikum also seemed to be involved in the death of a man who snuck into the orca’s pool in 1999.
The American Family Association, the powerful right-wing Christian political organization, blogged that, “If the counsel of the Judeo-Christian tradition had been followed,” Beancheau would have never died. AFA blogger Bryan Fischer reasoned that according to Exodus, an animal like Tilikum should have been stoned back in 1991, and if biblical law were to be followed, the owners of Tilikum should be put to death:
Chalk another death up to animal rights insanity and to the ongoing failure of the West to take counsel on practical matters from the Scripture. […] Says the ancient civil code of Israel, “When an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner shall not be liable.” (Exodus 21:28) So, your animal kills somebody, your moral responsibility is to put that animal to death. You have no moral culpability in the death, because you didn’t know the animal was going to go postal on somebody. But, the Scripture soberly warns, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn’t kill it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you die right along with your animal. To use the example from Exodus, if your ox kills a second time, “the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.” (Exodus 21:29)
The AFA is known for its annual “War on Christmas” campaign against retailers who refuse to appropriately celebrate the Christmas holiday. For the rest of the year, AFA pushes a vitriolic social agenda campaign, including advocacy that all homosexual activity should be outlawed.
But despite its constant promotion of theological government and hate rhetoric, the AFA is not fringe in terms of influence. There are many powerful GOP lawmakers and leaders who regularly frequent the AFA radio program and AFA events, such as Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Steve King (R-IA), Trenk Franks (R-AZ), Tom Price (R-GA), as well as Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Mike Johanns (R-NE), and Sam Brownback (R-KS). (HT: Gawker)