Gen 1.26: Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earch, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
Gen 2.15: The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. (NRSV)
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Kelly Miller Circus is coming to Deerfield, and some of the local residents are pissed. A group called ‘Skip the Circus‘ has organized in opposition to Kelly Miller, citing a history of cruel treatment towards elephants and other animals in captivity.
Perhaps most disturbing is this video which clearly shows a trainer as he beats and screams at captive elephants during a training session, while cajoling other trainers into doing the same. ‘Skip the Circus’ has done their homework–their documentation names the abuser in the video, links to the fine he received from the US Department of Agriculture (a measley $400), and worst of all, shows that he’s still working as an elephant trainer–for a company that provides elephants to–you guessed it–Kelly Miller Circus.
Given the aforementioned quotes from Genesis, it isn’t difficult to see the theological implications here. We humans are the caretakers of the garden of Eden. We have “dominion” over the Earth, not for the purpose of being able to rape and pillage it, but to care for it as God’s appointed workers. Abusing animals for entertainment purposes is ungodly and completely unacceptable. Hopefully, this boycott will flourish and raise additional awareness for the need to repair our relationship with all of God’s creation.