Uproar Over Cecil the Lion Drowns Out Plight of Persecuted Christians

America is more upset about the death of a lion than the death of millions of children.
America is more upset about the death of a lion than the deaths of millions of children. (Reuters)

Over the past few weeks, a certain headline has dominated both traditional and social media. The persecution of Christians around the world? The millions of babies aborted since 1973's Roe v. Wade decision?

No. The uproar centers around Cecil the lion, killed by an American big-game hunter in Zimbabwe. And while animals are God's creation, and nature should be protected, religion and culture expert Dr. Alex McFarland is wondering why thousands are outraged by the killing of one animal when so many other social evils are evident every day, sometimes with little or no attention paid.

"Our priorities are clearly misplaced," McFarland said. "People have a right to be passionate about the social causes close to their hearts. But the real tragedy occurs when we ignore other nightmarish headlines happening every day—such as the starvation of millions around the world, the persecution of thousands of Christians for their faith and the murder of unborn babies at an alarming rate. When we have more compassion for a lion than over the unborn babies whose body parts are being sifted through by Planned Parenthood doctors, we have reached a new moral low in our country."

According to Open Doors, an organization serving persecuted Christians worldwide, 322 Christians are killed for their faith each month. Also every month, 214 churches or religious properties are destroyed, and 772 forms of violence are committed against Christians, such as beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests and forced marriages.

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Yet, asks McFarland, where is the outrage?

"Our nation desperately needs to return to truth—and run toward it as fast as we can," McFarland continued. "We have fallen so far from our real purpose here on earth, when we rally for the sake of one animal but turn a blind eye to Christian persecution, abortion and other issues that are truly plaguing our world."

A recent editorial on CNN.com considered the passionate calls for justice on behalf of the lion, but also highlighted other voices of reason weighing in via social media posts, responding with thoughts such as, "What's more appalling, the death of ONE lion ... or the 30,000 children that die from hunger daily?" on a Facebook page with 15,000-plus members dedicated to shaming the "lion killer" dentist. "Since the tragic slaying of Cecil the Lion, 1,286 people have been killed in Syria, mostly by the regime's war plans," stated another commenter cited in the article, along with the comment, "More than 220,000 Syrians died and millions displaced but the world would rather mourn a lion."

Wrote Frida Ghitis in the CNN editorial, "No, there is nothing morally flawed in being outraged about the death of a gorgeous lion. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back over that. Sign a petition, even. But there is something deeply wrong in not caring, not doing more to stop the attacks that continue to kill thousands in Syria; or about the millions of suffering refugees created by war and terror—the highest numbers since World War II—or about the 9 million people (3 million of them children!) who die of hunger-related causes every year.

"Of everything that happened in the world ... ," she continued, "what do you think deserves the most urgent attention?"

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