I HAVE just finished looking over my first issue of a periodical sent me because I am a naturalist. I took up the magazine with delighted anticipation; I laid it down with grief.
Conservation, says Webster, is "preserving, guarding, protecting; a keeping in a safe or entire state; preservation."
This magazine is devoted to "conservation."
So far, so good. But it is preservation in preparation for slaughter. That is bad. What has in the past been devastated and destroyed by the lethal instincts of depraved human nature must now be conserved, preserved, built up, restored. Why? To undo the wrong done to creation? No! To provide enlarged opportunity for more murder. The whole vicious circle is summed up in the one word in display type at the bottom of the front cover-"Sport."
It labels a picture of a beautiful dog sitting in a woodsy spot holding up in its mouth a once-beautiful dead bird. Killing is sport. Death is delightful to the death-dealer. Conservation is the servant of destruction.
In no aspect of existence is the fall of man more vividly illustrated than in his attitude toward the works of the Creator. He must always destroy. Look at the twigs on the sidewalk side of the shrubbery on your lawn. Stripped bare of leaves, no doubt. Infants, from pre-school to adult ages, seem unable to see anything alive without an impulse to kill it. So pull off those leaves as you pass by. Huh! Just leaves! But could you make a leaf to replace the one you destroyed? In that leaf were utilized principles of engineering and manufacture that modern industry is just catching up with, and principles of chemistry still out of our reach, because divine.
But moronic mankind thinks he is growing up when he arrives at an "appreciation of nature." So he rushes out to field and woodland and grabs. Last spring he came back with his car draped with withered dogwood branches. Last fall the roadside maples held out mute and bleeding stubs where their flaming boughs had been splintered from them.
But mankind progresses. He becomes a "sportsman"—the highest form of masculinity. He glories in the science of killing and sets in motion the vast machinery of conservation to provide more opportunity to kill. But listen to God's definition of such "sport": "It is as sport to a fool to do mischief." Proverbs 10:23. Surely it is mischief to terrify, torture, torment, maim, and destroy wild creatures who are made by the same Creator who made you, and who are capable of many of the same emotions with which the human is endowed. It is God, not I, who named the "sportsman" in that verse, the sportsman who destroys for fun what he cannot create.
And the sportsman of Proverbs is further described by the Creator Himself in a famous conversation He once held with a group of men who were plotting destruction. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning." John 8:44. From the "sport" of destroying the lower creatures it is less than a step to war. And the Creator intends once to leave His constructive role for His "strange work" of destroying "them which destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:18.)
Let us become true conservationists, lest we share that destruction.