Decries game at festival - Catholic Courier

Decries game at festival

To the editor:

There was a new "game" at the recent St. Mary’s Church summer festival in Canandaigua which appalled me.

For one dollar you got five balls to try to toss into glass containers. Every time a ball landed in a container, participants were given a live goldfish kept in a small plastic bag, without food and with barely enough water to remain alive.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of live goldfish were given away as prizes, as if they were inanimate objects. No consideration was given in regards to what would happen to these animals, that were handed out faster than the delicious fried dough that was sold at a neighboring booth.

Goldfish are gentle, graceful animals that are worthy of moral consideration.

Far too often, the worship of God becomes a matter of ceremony and ritual, rather than a matter of practicing compassionate treatment for all God’s creations.

I am offended when our religious leaders — be they Christian, Jewish or Muslim — disregard the importance of respecting other living beings.

Jesus was born in a manger that sheltered and nurtured animals. He reminded people that animals should be the object of peoples’ concern and care. It was the slaughter of animals, in the name of God, that led Jesus to free animals about to be slaughtered at the Jerusalem Temple and to disrupt the procedure associated with these sacrificial rites. There is also evidence that Jesus was an Essene, a vegetarian sect of Judaism.

I believe Jesus would have regarded the cruelty to goldfish, which occurred on the property of a church established to revere him, as a sacrilege.

Joel Freedman

Freedman chairs the public education committee of Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate New York

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