Now, here is a very important question that I think we all need to sit down and ponder for a good long time - where is the sarcasm button on this computer? I really could use one.........
This was the headline in a few of the local newspapers this week, as well as a couple of the provincial ones. And what was the burning question that we should be pondering? What tricky little moral dilemma could the Son of God be facing if he were alive today? Perhaps the pressing issue of world hunger, that five loaves and two fishes really can't solve? How about the end of the world as we know it, due to soaring food prices, fuel costs and global warming - that really is a bit of a niggling little problem right now, is it not? Or, maybe, just maybe, he will be worrying his long-haired and bearded head about despot leaders that are sucking up their country's wealth while its people are left to starve and suffer in terrified silence? Perhaps he is even just a little curious about the puzzling mystery surrounding the feet that keep washing up on Beautiful British Columbia's coastline?
So, the moral dilemma of the 21st century is...........
.........would Jesus go to the rodeo?
Yes, people, this is the question. What would Jesus do?
After I had finished laughing at the absurdity of the question, I realised that it was actually quite an annoying and insulting question. What relevance does Jesus - a Jewish man who lived two thousand years ago in the Middle East - have with any of the decisions that I make today in my life? I really am quite tired of the implications that anyone that does not follow some kind of religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, the Islamic faith, Buddhism, Hinduism etc etc has no moral guidance and therefore no moral values. Well, I was bought up in a Christian family and dutifully attended Sunday school and church as a child. I was even baptised as a teenager - although I now realise that this was more for the sake of having some friends than for any real belief in God or Jesus, but that is another story in itself. My parents did a fine job of teaching me right from wrong. I also believe that you don't need to be taught moral values, since most of the time you just know what is right and what is wrong. So, I don't need some guy with a flowing beard and white dress in sandals (with or without socks?) telling me what I should or shouldn't be doing.
So, I don't give two hoots what Jesus would do when it comes to going to a rodeo or not. I can, however, tell you my personal views on rodeos - and given that I live in the Rodeo Capital of British Columbia, I must obviously know what I am talking about, right? Here goes:
- Rodeos inflict unnecessary cruelty to many of the animals involved. Take calf roping, where a calf has to be roped and tied in as short atime as possible. A rope is looped around the calf - that is running, terrified, for its life - yanked to a halt and then flung to the ground and tied up. This has resulted in calf deaths and injuries, such as broken legs.
- Rodeos involve people walking around looking like idiots in very large cowboy hats, cowboy boots, chaps and ridiculously large belt buckles. I guess the saving grace is the fact that at least they wear jeans under their chaps, unlike at the annual pride parade *shudder*.
- What is the point of sitting on a really angry bull for 6.6 seconds versus 7.9 seconds?
- Many bulls are teased and tormented before being released to ensure that they give a good performance.
So, would Jesus go to a rodeo? You can answer that question, if you want to. Would I go to a rodeo? I did once, when I was living in Utah, and I hated seeing the animals being treated so poorly and I left half way through. So, no, I would not and I do not support rodeos. I will say that many of the skills used by cowboys are skills that they need on their ranches in order to make a living and I don't have a problem with showcasing these skills as they would be used on a ranch. However, when roping a calf on a ranch, it does not have to be done in as fast a time as possible and so more care can be taken to ensure the safety of a calf. It all comes down to the fact that ranching provides food and is a way of life for many people, whereas the rodeo is purely for entertainment and I don't think that any animal should be put in harm's way just for the sake of amusing a long weekend crowd of city slickers.