Pr. Min. Yingluck Shinawatra, Pope Francis, and Msgnr. Jose S. Palma, Cebu, Philippines;
Please stop encouraging elephant deaths by giving ivory amulets/statuary for donations--don't say that your country has made ivory-trading illegal and that fixes everything--the Church needs to stop using ivory objects of any kind. As long as there is market for it, innocent elephants die to satisfy that demand. China boasts a national "Zero Tolerance" for illegal ivory, and yet they are the world's greatest users of ivory today--a flourishing Black Market there! As long as churches make money from use of ivory, they are literally taking "blood money." Who can begin to make this "okay" in all conscience? It makes me ill to think the churches can sink to such a level--all for a buck! The betrayal of core values it blatantly displays is despicable. Be, as you should be--part of the solution and lead us aright by your good example. In fairness, much good is done by our churches (and all the World Religions), but when they do the opposite of what their own teachings prescribe, self- correction is in order! Don't pretend to be perfect--leave perfection to the Divine! Please stop any "religious" use of ivory, for there can be no such thing. The Divine gave tusks to the elephants that they should survive the better, not that humans should kill them illegally for it! Please help--don't pretend you do not "see!" Across the globe, China, Japan, Thailand, Egypt. the Philippines--Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, Coptic Christians--all exchange ivory for fund-raising with amulets, trinkets and statuary. Obviously this enflames the ivory-trade and lends it the sham respectability of the church! So-called "religious use of ivory" is a major cause of illegal elephant poaching. Does the Roman Catholic Church really need any more bad press?
The Catholic catechism states, "It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly." Thailand and elephants have long had a deep love and cultural bond of richness. As powerful religious leaders, you have the opportunity to reduce the poaching of innocent elephants. You could educate your congregations thus: We have been made aware of the plight of the elephant, and in our deep compassion and concern for the good husbandry of God's creation, we now offer our Divine statuary in stone, metal, and other alloys. Explain that God's mission cannot prosper on “blood money”, and that all will be more fully blessed by purchasing subsequent statuary that does not involve illegal killing. You can explain that Jesus, Mary and the saints do not prefer one substance over the other for their images. Certainly, they abhor the killing of defenseless animals in Their holy names! A well-placed press-release on the matter will do the church good--it will also be a beacon for the other world religions to follow! I hope you see the opportunity you have for benevolent world leadership--and, that you will take it! We will all be uplifted by your leading the way! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Please help--don't pretend you do not "see!"
Cea T. Hearth, Founder, SEE--Save Endangered Elephants.Org
For more info, read the October issue of 2012, National Geographic, among other on-line sources. You will not believe what the Monsignor Garcia instructs tourists to do to smuggle illegal ivory into their countries. Please help--one signature means so much!