I have seen a disturbing trend on TV lately. Yes, you could say that most of what is on TV is disturbing (i.e. SpongeBob, Katie Couric, ShamWow), but this is more serious. Specifically, there are two related items that I was really upset by. Let me share them with you.

1. Adopt a Dog: The ASPCA has been running ads where you can sponsor a dog in need of rescue. For just $18 a month, you can provide a dog with the things a dog needs to be healthy and successful. The commercial features sad looking dogs and singer Sarah McLachlen (which is equally sad). With your $18, you get a picture of a dog to hang on your refridgerator.

2. Adopt a Polar Bear: The same day I saw the add for the adopt-a-dog I saw an ad where you can adopt a polar bear to help save them from extinction and global warming. I believe the campaign is done by the Sierra Club. Noah Wylie (from ER fame) is the spokesperson of this ad campaign. You can support a polar bear for just $16 a month. Also included was a photo (and a T-Shirt, I believe) to hang on your fridge. (I wonder if you can sponsor the polar bear from Lost??)

Maybe we should do an adopt-a-pastor? Just a thought!

I was dumbfounded about these ads. There are countless millions of people without food or safe drinking water around the world, and there are more than enough resources to help these people. What concerns me is that there will be people who will sponsor a dog or a polar bear but will not sponsor a child through Compassion International or World Vision. It may not be wide spread, but are we not called to love and care for our neighbors?

Some might think that I am against dogs and polar bears. I don’t think that I am, but I am concerned about what we are doing to address the root of these problems rather than treating the symptoms. The problem with the polar bears is related to global warming and our attitude (as a nation) that we can consume without regard for the world around us. We need to address these environmental problems because what happens to the polar bears (or any other species) will ultimately happen to us. We breathe the same air, drink the same water, and eat the same food.

Rather than adopting a dog or a bear, we might be better served at addressing the underlying issues that fuels these tragic situations. We can look at the systems in our society and ask questions. We need to demand more of our politicians and policy-makers. We need to engage and address not just the symptoms, but the root.

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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