I just finished watching a video entitled "The War on Humans" from the Discovery Institute (a video you can watch for free on the web). Somewhere around the time when the narrator mentioned law schools training future lawyers to protect animal rights so that they could rise up and sue cattle ranchers for slavery, I found myself laughing. Scenes more ridiculous than the pious speeches of Animal Farms's Squealer came into mind. It went on to mention plant rights and the 'dignity of plants.' Can anyone possibly think that this is a serious threat in society?
Then I discovered, no, it is true: In Switzerland, at least, you are banned from committing the heinous crime of 'decapitating' roadside wildflowers (yes, that word was used in the legal documents). Surfing the web, I stumbled across an article from planetsave.com that began:
"A law protecting the dignity of plants? Laugh if you will. I’m down on my knees in respect and awe. At last the Western World is realizing the dire importance of taking other species into account."*
It doesn't stop there. Scientists who have noted plants' alleged reception of pain and distaste of rock music in various experiments (plants flourished when classical music played but shriveled and died under rock) have suggested that plants have some level of consciousness. At least one, who studied the way that pea plants chemically 'communicate' with one another so that the seeds can germinate together, decided that eating annual plants should be avoided, while the food we get from perennials is less harmful.
Then there are the claims that mankind is a sort of parasite on the world, sucking it dry of its beautiful biospheres that have flourished and sustained themselves for the past three billion years. Mankind, at most, is an unwelcome newcomer, a mere two-million-year-old guest that has rapidly taken over and systematically assumed a Nazi-like hold of the Earth and her creatures. The solution? Birth control (including being seriously fined for having a second or third child), punishment of such people as ranchers, and suicide (according to at least one protester's sign).
I recall the ending of the movie Ender's Game in which our hero is not a hero for saving humanity from a potential threat, but for vowing to search the vast expanses of the universe to reinstate a species that he (almost) annihilated. (Incidentally, the movie also showed a 'permit-required-to-have-a-third-child' policy in a futuristic setting).
According to evolution, human beings are no more valuable, unique, or important than any other living thing on earth, be it beetle, butterfly or lady slipper. Denying human uniqueness leads to equating human rights with animal rights with plant rights with the right of the ocean to storm when and where it pleases (and thus making it a violation of those rights to set up levies), and so leads to the denial of human rights.
According to Scripture, there are three 'levels' of life. The first to be created were plants on Day Three of Creation Week. These are 'alive' only in the biological sense. The Bible then includes both animals and people in nephesh life, or 'soulish' creatures. Animals and people are on the same conscious-life level. But then, human beings have what I've read some theologians to term 'spirit.' We have a higher level of alive-ness than plants or animals because we are made in God's image. Of course, it can then be said that there is a 4th life level, which comes after being born again. The Bible describes nonchristians as spiritually dead, while Christians, being receivers of God's grace and Holy Spirit, are spiritually alive. So Biblically, the four life levels are: biological life, soul, spirit and salvation. This means that human beings are infinitely more important than the living things around them!
But - isn't it still important to care about the environment? Absolutely. It is our duty, as humans (being more rational and moral than any animal), to care for the environment and its inhabitants. This does not mean we are to deny ourselves the liberty of farming and keeping animals for food. It means, instead, that those are things we must do. God calls us to subdue the earth and to care for it in His Word. We are to fulfill that by reaping the earth's bounty, without destroying its ecosystems and species, of course, but by managing it with wisdom and genuine care for its creatures and habitats.
I wish all this were common sense. It seems though, sometimes, that it isn't. But to speak of the rights of Mother Nature while denying electricity to families in Africa, in the name of preventing Global Warming (leaving many thousands of children to die from breathing in toxins after burning manure), is to act against humanity, science, earth, and the God who made them all.
Yes, science and earth, because not only is radical environmentalism not supported by science, to act in ways that elevate the environment's alleged safety over humanity's is to harm the caretakers of the earth.
Apropos, I actually have no idea what the Swiss punishment is for wildflower mutilation.