One prominent conservative--pro-lifer, former Reagan aide and 2000 Presidential candidate Gary Bauer--is worried about Americans preferring pets to children.
Writing in the Christian Science Monitor, Bauer bewails “a disturbing trend...We're treating animals as humans, and in some cases preferring pets to people.”
This “lopsided moral framework” is highly alarming to Bauer, who notes that in spiritual sinkholes like San Francisco pet owners outnumber children nearly 2 to 1.
“Both singles and couples without children,” he writes, “are more likely to own pets and are significantly more likely to develop strong, even parental bonds with them.”
Bauer has nothing against domestic creatures, but “valuing pets over people discounts one fact: While animals make great companions, offer health benefits, and can be a source of endearing affection...they live in a different moral universe than man... Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God.”
He has a point there, despite claims of those who find deep meaning in spelling dog backward.
In my family, we have resolved the problem: Grandparents take daily care of the puppy who bonds with the grandchildren at every possible opportunity, while their parents concentrate on child-rearing.
If this sounds like moral relativism to Bauer, so be it. Who wants spiritual guidance from a man whose Presidential hopes ended in New Hampshire when he fell off a platform trying to catch a pancake he had flipped in the air?