What We Say Matters – Presidential Edition

President Trump recently referred to asylum seekers as animals.

Can we talk about that statement for a minute?

Can I provide some context to what that statement means?

I think we often forget that:

  • We pack so many chickens (animals) in a cage that they can barely breathe, just so they cost less to kill and eat.
  • We force cows (animals) to live in massive piles of their own shit and force feed them antibiotics to keep them alive long enough to kill and eat them.
  • We eat animals.
  • We murder animals for sport.
  • We sweep animals off the road with a shovel after we hit them with our cars.
  • We flush pet fish that die down the toilet.
  • We euthanize our pets if they become too ill or their sickness is too expensive to cure.
  • We exterminate mice and rats (animals) if they invade our houses or businesses
  • We test the safety of questionable products on animals to make sure they are safe before we use them on ourselves.

This is just a short list of things we do to animals because we do not value them on an equal level to human beings. This reality should instantly kindle our outrage and disgust when we hear our president call our fellow human beings animals. It should also mean that our voices are heard at full volume protesting in their defense!

To say “They are not people, they are animals”, is to devalue them to the point where their lives no longer matter.

If they are animals, they are instantly expendable. They are a potential source of profit or a potential plague that is consuming valuable resources they are not worthy of having. They are a blight to be exterminated or a resource to be exploited for gain.

To say they are animals is to deny their equality, that they are made in the image of their Creator and to deny the reality that he died for them.

To call them animals is an attempt to remove the last few scraps of dignity and acknowledgement that they are human beings.

It is stealing their status as vulnerable and marginalized, because you can’t be vulnerable or marginalized if you are not human.

I realize I say this a lot, but words matter, the words we use to talk about our fellow human beings have a direct effect on how we see them and how we value their lives in relation to our own. 

We must choose every day to intentionally value human life, we must choose to stand up for the marginalized and speak up when they are further marginalized by words uttered for political gain. 

We must work to change the tide of hate and nationalism to a movement that loves those who are suffering and invites them in to share in our safety and prosperity.

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