The Philippines is still one of the world’s major Roman Catholic countries, its century of devotion and worship to Catholicism can be traced as to the foundation of its oldest churches, festivals and traditions that root up since the Spaniards invaded the archipelago. The church endorses the use of iconic images and statue that are so called holy and wildly patronize by each community as to their celebration of fiestas and feasts. That’s the reason why in every barangay there is a patron saint.
These saints are locally made up of wood, iron, rocks and even precious metals, stones and ivory, which is allegedly subjected to 1981 signatory of the Philippines to (CITES) Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of the Fauna and Flora. One of the provisions included was the prohibition of the killing, selling, buying and collecting of endangered species.
On the last seven years over 19 tons of smuggled ivory has been bound in the country that are equivalent to 1,747 African elephant. These figures represent only those who were intercepted by the Bureau of Custom (BOC). In October 2005, around 6,000 kilograms of elephant tusks from Africa were intercepted by BOC, after four years two container vans from Africa were again intercepted containing thousand of ivory tusks worth P100 million pesos.
Can this business ever be stop? Is it really matter if we would pray and bend our knees over saints made up of local materials? Would you condemn these religious icons for the sake of those elephant that are being pouch and murdered for the use of their tusks? Don’t you ever realize that the images and icons that you are devoting to were once living and freely enjoying the youthfulness of life?
They are Wonderfully Created
Species of elephants are typically grayish, but Africans appear brownish or reddish. Elephant skin is very thick and is extremely tough around its body that measure 2.5 metres thick. Although tough, their skin is very sensitive and always subjected to ultra violet radiation. They need regular mud bath to protect their skin and the mud serves as a sunscreen and protection insect bites and moisture loss, it also regulates their body temperature. This process is called Wallowing. Asian was more hairy than their African neighbor this is common to young calves because they are usually covered with a thick coat or brownish red fuzz from the time of their birth. As they get older, this hair darkens and become lighter.
Dramatically Poached Elephants
Elephant Tusks Evolved Smaller in the last Century
When these largest animals were hunt and killed, it changes their breeding pattern. The smaller males with their smaller tusks breed more successfully having their offspring their genetic property, resulting to smaller elephant and tusks.
Church Innovated Ivory Crafted Images
Earliest ivory carving known were made in the Old Stone Age, but it flourished under the Byzantine Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries and from the 10th to 13th century. Christian figures, symbols and scenes, book covers, boxes, shrines, crosiers, crucifixes, door panels, thrones and altars were the subjects often depicted from ivory. In Europe during the reigns of Charlemagne and his successors in the 9th and 10th centuries, elaborately carved ivory book covers, reliquaries, and altar pieces were produced. Ivory has been considered luxurious because of its quality, its fine grain, creamy light color, smooth texture and soft lustre.
Ivory Crafted Images
Some devotee who owns these ivory crafted images don’t even considered these things as luxury, they consider at as their offering to God and some consider these saints as God himself and not a representation. Since the Philippines belongs to the third world country where people are living below the poverty line, many become devotee to these patron saints hoping for miracles, in this way Filipinos seemed to rely on their faith and believe for their dreams and aspirations.
—Joy Adamson in Born Free.
These gigantic land mammals were one of the most magnificently created life on Earth, they cause no harm for humans thus helping humans in their everyday work. These animals like humans do have the right against poaching, because it is merely senseless. I could personally say that praying to these religious icons and saints is not a way to worship Christ or God. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” 1 Timothy 2:5. We don’t need to find any way to pray and send our messages with because he is simply there watching and seeing us from above.
The use of these ivory crafted images only shows how artistic man is, but it is also a reflection of how greediness man would be in terms of earning a living. Man would embark everything for its need and therefore doesn’t mind how many of these elephants have been massacred. Our life is just equal to their life as the way we are breathing, we may be the highest created organism, but it is not an excuse for us to abuse and oppress animal rights. God has put us here to serve as protector and care taker of his creations; we are not here to serve as predator of everything.
Remember that although you are not the one involved in the poaching and illegal trading, you are contributing a lot to its existence and business, because a business would not run if there is no consumer. Before you bend your knees and pray think first, am I bending and sending my prayers to these animal parts? Are we sure that someone is misguiding our believe? “For false Christ’s and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24.