Say “Satan” and we immediately think of lunch, not lions. Oh, wait, that’s “seitan.” But Pastor Troy Gramling of the Flamingo Road Church recently used a big cat crammed in a tiny cage as a prop—and a weird metaphor for the devil—during a recent sermon.
During the past month, Gramling has also used a capuchin monkey to symbolize the financial “monkey on your back” and a 13-foot python as a metaphor for sinners. Wild animals don’t belong on stages—or Gramling’s shoulders (Hello?) One shudders to imagine what their lives are like off stage. They likely endure constant confinement and live in confusion and fear as a result of the sights, sounds, and smells of their unfamiliar and unnatural surroundings.
Gramling’s use of wild animals to (somehow) symbolize human frailty is cruel and dangerous—and it undermines the steadfast belief held by caring Christians that all living beings deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. Urge Flamingo Road Church to can its “Wild” sermon series and enact a policy prohibiting any and all future uses of exotic animals.
Written by Karin Bennett