In the midst of our morning routine my younger daughter, H, noticed her goldfish was swimming happily around in his bowl. She remarked how surprised she was that it was still alive. A year and a half ago she had a dozen or so, all unwitting subjects of her science fair project. (Which, mommy must brag, after numerous revisions finally resulted in a Second Place at Regional’s.) They each passed on from natural causes, one by one, except for this little guy, persistent in his survival.
If you read Pharyngula or my friend Jay’s blog, Freethinking for Dummies, you may have encountered the recent story about a pastor who scoped 200 fish out of a tank and threw them onto the ground, in his effort to make a bizarre point about salvation. He made sure the students watching understood that these feeder fish were only worth fifteen cents.
I relayed this story to H. Her response was perfect. “Well, of course the kids would pick up the fish and try to save them, Mom! The fish have to be dealt with right now! Seriously, how many of their friends are going to die and go to hell in the time it takes to save the poor fishes from suffocation?”
I told her that some of the people who had heard the story thought the students would be upset and perhaps it would make them question other things the pastor said and did. She said, “Yea. I don’t think adults always realize kids my age can think for themselves. And what I think is that pastor should be arrested for cruelty to animals!”
Later, I heard her grumbling. I asked her what was the matter and she said growled, “And what does the cost of the fish have to do with anything?!”
I don’t think the point was lost on her at all. Hopefully the children who witnessed this will come out of shock and share a similar reaction.