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5 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2013 - 10:51AM #1
Posts: 12,363
For the past few weeks, Spike TV has been airing a show entitled "Urban Tarzan". The premise is that Tarzan and his pal Caveman are specialists in exotic animal capture and relocation. Each episode has them traveling through the Los Angeles area securing exotic and large animals in the hopes of preventing the animals and thsoe who come in contact with them from harm. This is rather dangerous work, as between the episodes aired so far and an early (as yet unaired) pilot, Tarzan has been bitten by a cobra (the second time in his career that he's had it happen to him) and had his ribs broken by a camel, while Caveman got sprayed in the face by a skunk.

Last night's episode (10 April 2013) featured yet another camel.

A church had hired a donkey and a camel for a living Nativity scene that they planned to have out in public. However, the camel's trainer - who was apparently quite drunk - walked off the property after having a spat with the minister (who was dressed as Joseph), leaving both the camel and the trailer behind. Unsure of what to do, the minister tried to offer the camel an apple, apparently disbelieving the trainer's warnings.

Sure enough, the minister inadvertently wound up teasing the animal instead of appeasing it. The camel then proceeded to lose its temper and began to cause a scene. Realizing that they could no longer control it, the actress playing Mary (it might have been the minister's wife; the digital cable was shaky due to a wind storm moving through) called the pair in to help contain it until the trainer or the actual owner could be located. Unfortunately, the minister panicked when he saw that the camel was about to step on the Baby Jesus figure that they had in place and reached to grab it, in the process upsetting the camel even more and causing it to wreck the entire set. Fortunately, because it was still a trained animal, Tarzan was able to take it by its leads and bring it back to the trailer; when the trainer finally returned, Tarzan chewed him out about it.

Thing is - when Caveman asked the minister why they hired real animals insead of resorting to the old standby of cardboard cutouts, the minister replied "historical accuracy". At which point Caveman proceeded to ask him about his "historically accurate" athletic shoes. Undecided

This isn't the first time I've heard of animals hired for nativity scenes getting out of control; it's just the most dramatic.

In that sense - should churches even be hiring live animals for nativity scenes or other reproductions?
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2013 - 11:26PM #2
Posts: 11,795

should "churches" even be hiring live animals for nativity scenes or other reproductions?


1. what does it spiritually add? Just another cute prop taking away from the Incarnation.

2. will probably run afoul of the law, SPCA, ACLU, and other such humanistic huggers.

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 17, 2013 - 10:22PM #3
Posts: 5,267

I've seen that done in a community-wide Easter play held in an arena. It was the same arena they had petting zoos and livestock shown in the county fair a few months earlier, so it was 'animal-friendly', unlike most church properties. It was interesting to watch but I think if they're going to use live animals, they should be domesticated only...'trained' and 'domesticated' are not the same thing! That would pretty much mean no camels, no elephants or other animals that wouldn't be used to such things.  I don't see why they'd need real animals anyway, but if they *must*, use domesticated only.

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