Christian Thoughts · Right to life

The Heart(Beat) of the Matter

The Surprising Overlap Between Cecil the Lion’s Death and the Recent Planned Parenthood Videos

Many people are using their Facebook and Twitter accounts to question how people can care so much about a lion and not so much about human life. But if you take a look deeper within you can see something that might ease the animosity that swings like a wrecking ball all over the Internet.

This is not a battle between Christians and Environmentalists. Perhaps they are the ones who may speak the most vigilantly about it, but still there is a common denominator that binds the hearts behind what has dominated social media for this moment in time.

To catch you up, the quick version. A few weeks ago, some suspicious videos were released of a Planned Parenthood executive discussing casually over a meal the procedures for maintaining the integrity of certain vital organs during an abortion for future selling and use, which is illegal. Since the release of the videos, the Planned Parenthood rebuttal has indicated it was a highly edited video and that the intact baby parts are being used for research.

Then, this past week, a beloved lion named Cecil, Zimbabwe’s pride and joy, was killed by bow and arrow for sport. The shooter apparently spent $50,000 to hire professional hunters to hunt down and kill a lion. The American hunter claims he didn’t know it was the Cecil. But, why the uproar? It is being investigated whether it was an illegal kill or not. Cecil had a tracking device around his neck indicating he was not allowed to be killed.

Photograph: Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority/EPA via The Guardian
Photograph: Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority/EPA via The Guardian

The Guardian reported that other pride leader, Jericho, “will be unable to defend the two prides and cubs from new males that invade the territory.” This likely means all the cubs from Cecil’s pride will be killed.

So, which story is more valuable? Who wins? People are fighting these issues online like there has to be a winner. Without a winner, all the hateful speech will just keep piling up into a mess of unfiltered judgments until the next issue arises.

But let’s take a closer look. Pull back the fur, and the flesh and the blood and the tears and what do we see? The heart. The heart beating. The heart beat becoming faint. The heart beat stopping. This is where these stories stop us in our tracks. It’s where our hearts break, whether for an animal or a human life.

When my husband and I were pregnant for the first time we went to our first ultrasound at eight weeks. There was a tiny heartbeat, beating slowly. Our OB solemnly told us we would have to wait two more weeks and check it again to see if the heartbeat had strengthened.

Two weeks later the heartbeat was gone.

The commonality we all share in both of these media stories is the sound of thump-thump-thump, the sound that acknowledges life. Cecil walked blindly into a trap. Unborn babies drift away in a womb. Their heartbeat stops. Life is no longer here on earth.

What lies beneath it all? We all want justice. We all want someone to stand for the innocent. We all share the common bond of believing the innocent should have a choice. It seems that at the heart of all our rants and disputes is an aching for the one who was unfairly treated and a life that was lost because of it.

This is where we find our common bond.

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