Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. – Hebrews 9:22b (NIV)
A few months back, a story about the killing of an animal garnered a lot of media attention in my local community. The animal in question was not some garden variety animal but rather it was a police dog named Rocco. Rocco was stabbed and killed in the line of duty when attempting to apprehend a suspect. There was an outpouring of support for Rocco. A memorial fund was set up, there was even a public viewing and Rocco was buried with full police honors.
Initially I did not know what to make of all of this attention over Rocco’s death. My first thought was this was yet another example of the trend to humanize and give personhood to animals. You’ve probably seen bumper stickers that read, “my German Shepherd is smarter than your honor student.” I saw a bumper sticker recently that took this thinking to new heights. It read, “my grandchild is a cat.” I’m sorry. While I am admittedly not a “cat” person, and I know that some people find their antics cute enough to post and You Tube, a cat is not a child!
This trend reflects the subtle influence of the teaching of evolution. Some in the evolutionary community do not see a significant difference between human beings and other types of life forms. They simply see humans as being more highly evolved animals and do not see them as beings uniquely created in God’s image and likeness. Some in this community would equate human rights with animal rights. I find it an interesting contradiction how someone could support both animal rights and abortion rights.
A flip switched for me in my thinking about all the hoopla over Rocco when I heard a spokesperson for the police department say the dog was a police officer like any other police officer. Rocca had in fact formally been issued a badge. For me it was the badge that made the difference. The badge was symbolic of a group of men and women and as it turns out dogs, who took an oath to uphold the law and protect the public. In doing so, these officers may to put themselves in harm’s way even losing their lives in the name of public safety. Would I have had any initial cynicism at all attention shown to Rocco if his actions protected me or my family?
A badge issued by the City of Pittsburgh Police Bureau elevated Rocco from being a mere pet or even a stray animal to police officer worthy of a burial with full honors. As Christians we have honor beyond a badge, we have the protection of the blood; the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ substitutionary death of the cross paid our sin debt, satisfied the God the Father’s wrath and purchased for us a home in heaven.