Killer whale should be stoned to death according to biblical law, says US fundie

Killer whale should be stoned to death according to biblical law, says US fundie March 4, 2010

LAST week a tragedy occurred at Seaworld Orlando when Tilikum, known as Tilly, a 12,000lb killer whale, drowned his trainer, Dawn Brancheau.
Tilly, according to this report, had been involved in the death of two other people – in 1991 and 1999.

Liller whale Tilikum
Now , some daft fundie called Bryan Fischer, writing on the American Family Association’s blog, claims that Brancheau’s death was the result of:

The ongoing failure of the West to take counsel on practical matters from the Scripture.

The fruitcake adds:

If the counsel of the Judeo-Christian tradition had been followed, Tillikum (sic) would have been put out of everyone’s misery back in 1991 and would not have had the opportunity to claim two more human lives.

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)

Curiously, Fischer is not calling for the management of Seaworld Orlando to be put to death.

If I were the family of Dawn Brancheau, I’d sue the pants off SeaWorld for allowing this killer whale to kill again after they were well aware of its violent history.

Hat tip: Alan H

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  • gsw

    As a prisoner or slave, in permanent captivity, Tilikum has an ethical basis for killing any who enter the water he lives in.
    Actually, compared to the number of whales regularly killed by humans, while in their own habitat, this is nothing. No one forced the “trainer” to go into the water.
    Tilikum should be released from captivity immediately.

  • H. Davids

    I’m sure I can find some other religious nut who’s willing to claim that Tilikum’s action was a sign of his or her god, that there’s more to come if we don’t mend our ways and that the ‘Holy Trinity’ is actually God, Jesus and the Holy Whale. So sinners: stay out of the water as much as you can, it’s not our habitat.

  • Marcus

    KILL! KILL! KILL! Do fundies actually ever think about anything else? Being so angry all the time must be exhausting.

  • Jen

    All the ethics I ever needed to know I learned from the Bible :/
    Enough with these stupid fundies.

  • barriejohn

    It’s the owners of these captive wild animals that need to be shot! I seem to be the only one who thinks that Steve Irwin got what was coming to him. He made a fortune by aggravating and humiliating beautiful wild creatures, and aggravated quite a lot of humans as well!!

  • Jerod

    As I see it, the whale is not at fault. What man has done, is take a wild animal, a predator, and put it in a box. It should be no surprise to anyone that a wild animal (who would look at a human as food were it in the open sea) would attack it’s captor. I cannot imagine the psychological torment, this slavery and captivity has had on this or any other whale that was ripped from freedom and forced to perform for humans enjoyment. Seaworld is a disgrace to humanity. It is a constant reminder of man’s “superiority” over anything non-human, and shows disdain for all the life it has stolen, in the name of entertainment, and capitalistic gain.
    Don’t blame the whale, it only knows it’s nature. Blame Seaworld.
    My sympathies to the family for the loss of a loved one.

  • chrsbol

    @barriejohn No you’re not the only one who thinks Irwin got what what he deserved,it was just a matter of time.Although he made the t-shirt section of themash.Scroll down to crocodile hunter.

  • Is this bloke suggesting that whales evolved from oxen?

  • Graham Marks

    In 1916, an elephant named Big Mary was hanged (yes hanged from a crane) in the state of Tennessee after killing her inexperienced keeper. She is the only known elephant to be executed by hanging in the history of circuses, and her story has intrigue, overreaction, fear, misguided humans, speculation, tragedy and more. The whale is no different, a poor wild animal contained in what amounts to no more than a prison, stir crazy or cabin fever spring to mind. The poor creature probably has religious nut jobs taking their families to see him perform. I recommend these links below, Peter Tatchell is one of their patrons.
    Mary’s story in detail and can be found here.

  • Angela_K

    Take a wild, dangerous creature out of its environment so hordes of paying, baying morons can watch it perform and we wonder why these creatures fight back. This “trainer” got her comeuppance.

  • Broga

    I heard the “Director of Seaworld” or whatever saying they would not kill the whale. They had another twenty. That is twenty intelligent creatures being kept in agony to amuse and raise money for some of the most moronic dumbfucks on the planet. And I do mean Americans. I am happy to volunteer to bludgeon that morons to death.

  • Broga

    @Angela K. Precisely my views. Moronic dumbfucks. Shame this intelligent creature could not have taken most of their yelping, howling audience with them. Is there any more infantile, lard arsed, ignorant and loathsome population on the planet than a particular brand of USA citizen. Superstition infected, smug, pompous and idle in a way that turns my stomach. And I do emphasise that they are a particular species of vermin in the USA; not all are the same.

  • James Galloway

    I like this Freethinker crowd. @Jerod: Why do you think God commands mankind to subdue the Earth right up front in Genesis 1:(whatever)? God was, of course, thinking of the 21st Century Free Market Capitalistic-Fundamentalists (refered to by Angela_K and Broga) and how they would very much enjoy a physical display of Genesis 1. God’s sense of humor is omnipotent, because he/she/it inserted the intentional faux pas of keeping the rest of the beasties WILD! The whale was just living up to God’s expectations.

  • Normand

    Let’s not tar and feather 300 million people for a few million idiots. When countries have had disasters and needed relief, and it brings to mind Pakistan after the earthquake, Americans were the first ones to jump on the wagon and they were more than generous. I could also add that not long after, they were being called The Great Satan by the same people. There are yahoos , red-necks and idiots everywhere whether it’s in Britain or here in Canada or in France, etc. We all have our share of morons so let’s not be smug and judgemental . After all we are not preachers!

  • Wurble

    I think maybe there’s a clue to the animals potential danger in its name, Killer whale! Though I suspect that if we left the poor things alone they wouldn’t bother us.

  • barriejohn

    Don’t forget that they hanged a monkey at Hartlepool!

  • barriejohn

    It’s Genesis 1:28, James! Doesn’t it seem somewhat strange that God should command Adam to “subdue” the earth in pre-Fall days, when there was no sin around to put His wonderful Creation out of kilter? Fundamentalists are aware of these anomalies, but try to gloss over them!!

  • Broga

    Normand. Just what I said. They vermin are a minority. And, if we seek balance although a particular example was placed before us, the treatment of dogs in the East is sick and merciless. Tied by the legs and left there till someone wants to buy for eating. Or the vicious abuse of horses in Argentina and elsewhere: head tied tied to a post so the animal can be flogged to knock the spirit out of it; or ridden with one leg tied up so some macho guacho can beat the crap of it; The Japanese love to cut dolphins throats and, of course, they do their “scientific” whaling. Fox hunting in the UK where the hounds are trained by letting them rip the cubs to bits – Prince Charles and is missus Camilla are enthusiasts. Still goes on.
    And yet in every country and most definitely the USA where the brilliant Cesar Millan has done more for the welfare of dogs than any other “trainer” I have heard of (and Japan has a terrific anti whaling organisation) many rebel against the cruelty. You must forgive me if I tend to have an immediate emotional reaction to animal cruelty. It just comes to the surface. But I do take your point.

  • Broadsword Calling Danny Boy

    Us humans sometimes mistakenly believe ourselves to be at the peak of evolution. When an animal kills one of us, a form of hubris kicks-in and we enter “How dare you!” mode. This is what we’re getting now from the fundies who believe we have a god given right to dominate all life on Earth.
    We are not special. Our physical and cognitive abilities are simply adaptations that evolved to help us cope with our environment. We didn’t have to develop intelligence, it’s just that in our case it was useful. The dinosaurs thrived over a geological timescale despite their small brains until the asteroid gatecrashed their party.
    When a species evolves a particular feature that enables it to cope, it is never the best. Evolution doesn’t work like that. All the new feature has to do is to work. That gives the creature an edge until something better comes along or its environment changes.
    So here we are. We’re not the best, we never will be, and we shouldn’t be surprised or angered when one of the “lesser species” gets us once in a while.

  • Don

    Interesting. I’ve been teaching ‘Our Day Out’ to one of my classes and the brief scene here (8:15)covers this neatly.

  • barriejohn

    From The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible(qv):
    God commands us to “be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over … every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” This verse is used to justify Christian opposition to birth control, concern for the environment, and animal rights. The earth was made for humans, and they can do as they damn well please with it.
    D. James Kenedy1 uses this verse to claim that God has given Bible believers dominion over the entire earth, including all non-believers. And Ann Coulter says, presumably using this verse as for justification,
    “God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.'”2
    1. Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming, (2006), p.42.
    2. Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 2001

  • Broga

    I watched that Don. Thanks. Very young Alun Armstrong. According to Jared Diamond in the rise and fall of the third chimpanzee species are now becoming extinct at a rate of 150,000 a year, or seventeen per hour. Bird species at least two a year. We are in the midst of the most collosal environmental disaster – the extinction of vast numbers of species – but who cares if ten million beetles become extinct? And we are rushing headlong into catastrophe and one reason is that with our capital driven, greed is good, chop any forest for profit it will not stop. Worst of all is the religion driven – particularly Roman Catholics in the West – insanity to continue breeding, block contraception and there is always a reason to cut another forest.
    We are the most destructive pests on the planet and I cannot think of many more destructive than the maniac Ratzinger.
    You seem like an excellent teacher. Your pupils are lucky.

  • Stonyground

    First let me say that I totally agree that this animal should never have been held captive in the first place. If it is true that it has killed in the past then you don’t really need a divine revelation to know that it is a bad idea to go swimming with it. I have a feeling that cartoonist Gary Larson has covered this issue but have no clue how to dig up the relevant Far Side Pic.
    Message to the Bible Thumpers, giving sage advice with the benefit of hindsight is not clever, any idiot can do it. Had you offered this divine wisdom before the tragedy occurred you could then have said “Told you so” and maybe then looked a little bit impressive.
    If possible this animal should be re-habilitated and returned to the wild where it belongs.

  • Alec s thompson

    Surely the clue is in the name ie: KILLER whale. you cant condem an animal for natural actions. wot a twat! the animal is just doing natural things! kill him not the whale. FREE WILLY! LOL 🙂

  • ZombieHunter

    so now that this whale has killed more than once does that mean it’s a serial killer whale?? 😛

  • barriejohn

    You must watch this. If you suspected that many right-wing Americans’ arguments are on the level of a two-year-old’s then this confirms the fact!

  • Broadsword Calling Danny Boy

    I bought this book recently that offers some interesting solutions to avoid or mitigate the environmental catastrophe we seem to be heading for.
    I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend it as I’m only half way through but a trawl through the customer reviews might whet your appetite.

  • He’s the guy who recently said gay people should be imprisoned and forced into “ex-gay” therapy, then went on to say gay should be outlawed. I guess he decided to extend his 15 minutes with this insanity.

  • Normand

    Rasinger may have his hands full now with this latest sex scandal so maybe he will postpone his trip to England! Hum! A seminarian acting as a rent-boy?? What next?

  • Broga

    @Broadsword. Many thanks. I will look out for it. I am a sucker for books. Still reading the ones my wife and kids (well grown up) gave me for Christmas.

  • Broga

    @Normand. As gentle, sensitive, atheistic sort (not like these nasty fundies) I try to resist schadenfruede but sometimes the tsunami of satisfaction heading my way overwhelms and I give up. And your link to The Guardian piece on the Vatican rentboy was one of those occasions. Why fight the inevitable I thought. Thanks for putting a special treat my way. As the man said, you couldn’t make it up.
    Much appreciated. Thanks.
    PS And for anyone else who didn’t read it, this is one you should not miss.

  • Barry Duke

    The Vatican rent-boy piece is now up on the blog, thanks to Normand and BarrieJohn

  • Heather Flight

    I should have to be stoned myself to get into a swimming pool with a killer whale. I have no sympathy at all.
    I also feel thrills of satisfaction when lions, tigers and chimpanzees turn on their keepers, but my absolute favourite was the man whose stage act involved putting his head into the mouth of a crocodile, to the amazed gasps of paying punters, until, that is, it clamped its jaws shut and almost decapitated him. I should like to throw stones at him!

  • NeoWolfe

    I’m with James Galloway, not because he was the most relevent but because he said that the contributers here ROCK!!! People here are bright and open minded. I have been on sites where I was attacked because I argued for the idea of agnostism and humanism. That the withholding of judgement about intelligent design doesn’t make you a mental midget. That until the equation is found that proves that the universe is an accident, the rest is assumption.

  • barriejohn

    Have you seen this Heather? It’s a complete mystery to me that anyone would see anything clever in this “act” in the first place, quite apart from the fact that it all goes disastrously wrong! (There are others in similar vein!!)

  • barriejohn
  • I have been on sites where I was attacked because I argued for the idea of agnostism and humanism.

    No you weren’t.

    That the withholding of judgement about intelligent design doesn’t make you a mental midget.

    It’s called the examination of evidence, pros & cons.
    & you still owe me 4 apologies.

  • NeoWolfe

    Be careful, you can’t win a debate here by deleting the responses.
    Which apology would you like first. The one where you lie about being on the AA staff.
    Maybe it would be the one where, while the sidebars of your website are littered with links to agnostic and humanist websites, you look down your nose at them as though you are something superior.
    Maybe I should apologize to the world that not all atheists are assholes, such as you are, but, that no freethinkers are.
    Damn, I seem to one apology short. Okay, I apologize to Dave, which happens to be the name of the web administrator here, as well. I’m sorry that this prick freethinker wannabe spilled his slop onto your website. It’s a long story. I didn’t invite him.

  • Be careful, you can’t win a debate here by deleting the responses.

    Something I’ve never done.

    Which apology would you like first. The one where you lie about being on the AA staff.

    Why would I lie about that?

    Maybe it would be the one where, while the sidebars of your website are littered with links to agnostic and humanist websites, you look down your nose at them as though you are something superior.

    Really no clue where you got that.

    Okay, I apologize to Dave, which happens to be the name of the web administrator here, as well. I’m sorry that this prick freethinker wannabe spilled his slop onto your website.

    I apologize as well – it was bad form on my part. We’ll take this elsewhere.

  • Heather Flight

    Oh, Barrie, those clips cheered me up no end. Thank you.