Friday, October 20, 2006

Journal of a Living Lady #284

Nancy White Kelly

Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, or Atheists need not apply.

Have your attention? Thought so.

Most of us are vocal defenders of the U.S. constitution, including equal rights and the Freedom of Religion. Coming of age in the civil rights era, I experienced all the commotion that accompanied it. In college I became increasingly aware of man’s inhumanity to man. Crusaders placed human heads on stakes. Nero and Hitler were terrorists too. Today’s headlines scream of murder in the cities and genocide in odd-sounding villages like Darfur.

Intolerance isn’t new. But I wasn’t expecting to find it where I did. In the classified ads of a major newspaper.

Buddy and I have been searching for a puppy since Oppie, our beloved Chihuahua, passed away recently. While looking in the PETS FOR SALE column, my eyes fell upon an egregious example of intolerance: “Christian home” wanted for Yorkie puppy.

I am a Christian. That is no secret if you have read this column for very long. But the idea of rejecting all but a Christian family to adopt and pay for a dog struck me as rather humorous.

True, Christians are generally good folks. Unfortunately, not all Christian families are ideal. Some are better pet keepers than others.

The question this odd ad raised is this: What constitutes a Christian family worthy of a dog? Do they visit the sick and feed the poor? Do one or more family members attend church regularly? Do they tithe? While these are desirable characteristics, religious activity does not make one a Christian anymore than reading the label of a dog food makes the reader a canine. Christianity is far more than that. John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8-9 succinctly sums it up.

Does my belief in Jesus as the Messiah, born of a virgin, make me a more worthy puppy buyer than my Jewish friends? Hardly. What difference does it make to an animal whether their owners read the Torah or the New Testament? All a puppy wants is lots of attention, food, and warmth.

Buddy and I didn’t buy the Yorkie puppy. We ended up adopting a darling two-pound Chihuahua puppy. Coincidentally, her owner just happened to be a Baptist preacher. Didn’t change things one bit.

Midget is unimpressed with my piano rendition of Amazing Grace. She much prefers my chant: “Here, doggie, doggie, doggie.”

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