Preached at in a Pet Store

Saturday was a warm and sunny day and I was feeling particularly fancy-free because Doug had just gotten home from training and could puppy-sit while I escaped the house.

One of my errands was to go pick up another dog bed for Riker because I was sick of carrying his bed from room to room as The Shadow followed me. So off to the new pet store in Rock Springs I went.

It all started off well. A pleasant employee approached and asked if I needed any help. We chatted a bit about the store and how it and the Humane Society would be cooperating in the coming months. All very cheery and nice. I picked out a bed and a couple of toys and carried them over to the cash. Then it all went wrong.

I had just finished signing the receipt when I saw her reaching for a plastic bag. “Oh, I don’t need a bag, I’m just parked outside. Besides, the bed won’t even fit in one of those!” I said pleasantly, a smile on my face. Big mistake.

“Oh, are you an en-vi-ron-men-ta-list?” She said, spitting out each syllable while her face contorted in disdain.

Completely thrown off by this sudden Jekyll-and-Hyde routine, I tried to be light-hearted, saying something along the lines of: “well, I just try to make sure the planet’s going to be ok in the future. Besides, I always end up with way too many plastic bags at home.”

Apparently she was not going to let this go. With fire in her eyes she announced to me: “Well, I don’t worry about that because the Lord Jesus Christ is going to come down to earth soon.”

Wow. What do you say to that? Here you’re standing at a pet store, little bunnies on the corner of the counter, and she’s talking about the Apocalypse? I was completely flabbergasted and just grabbed my purchases and hustled out to my fuel-efficient car (which wasn’t running, unlike two other empty pick-ups in the parking lot).

When I got to the Humane Society to put in a couple of volunteer hours, I told the director, who is from Michigan, is not an Evangelical fire-and-brimstone Christian (actually she’s not Christian at all), and is pretty level-headed. “Well,” she said, “People around here hate environmentalists. They are all about oil, except for the hunters and other people who want to protect the Elk and Antelope herds from interference by oil rigs. And some of those environmentalists are horrible, putting spike bombs in trees to hurt loggers.” Then we got into a discussion about the difference between “I like to compost and recycle” environmentalists like me and eco-terrorists who think nothing of killing people to save animals (hypocrisy be damned).

As soon as I got home I of course told Doug. He just stared at me open-mouthed. “I know,” I said. “I’ve heard of a lot of excuses for being wasteful, but the Apocalypse is a new one to me!” Then we proceeded to think of all the things you could use the Apocalypse-card for: “I’m not going to pay my taxes – Judgment will come before the IRS!” “I’m not paying my parking tickets – Jesus will judge me!” “I will never do anything ever again – the end is near!”

All joking aside, I know the owner of the store through Humane Society dealings and fired off a little note to him suggesting he go over the concept of customer relations with his employees before his grand opening on November 1st. After all, the customer is always right and probably doesn’t want to contemplate Revelation while picking up a squeak toy.

Since this is all so new to me, I of course had to research it. This is what some links on the topic have to say:

  • Argues that the Bible and Christian teachings are inherently anti-environmentalist because they tell us that time is linear at that the end of the world will come; also, the earth is there for humanity’s pleasure and so is antithetical to any idea of sustainability. Well, the author obviously doesn’t know anything about Hinduism or several First Nations oral histories that discuss cycles of destruction and rebirth. Hmm… moving on.
  • says that some Christian fundamentalists believe the destruction of the earth is a good thing – it will hasten the coming of Judgment Day. This is confusing: so half the right-wing Christian fundamentalists deny that Global Warming and other environmental catastrophes are taking place and the other half say yes it is occurring and it is a sign of impending Apocalypse? Hmm…
  • This Christian website denies that Christianity is inherently anti-environmental. In fact, the author argues: “The Bible says that those who destroy God’s creation will be judged and destroyed themselves.” I wish I’d had that up my sleeve when pet store lady went nuts on me!

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