A pod of orcas — often referred to as “killer whales” — is attacking boats at an alarming rate in the Strait of Gibraltar. During the last month, over 20 encounters between orcas and vessels have led to significant damage and unfathomable sinkings.
The Independent reported this week: “A pod of orcas and their suspected ringleader, a matriarch named Gladis, are gaining increasing notoriety for repeatedly ramming into boats in the Strait of Gibraltar, conjuring somewhat romantic images of a long-overdue fightback by the natural world.”
Researchers believe that years ago Gladis — the matriarch of the pod — may have tussled with a fishing net while pregnant with one of her calves. The experience was so traumatic for her that she began teaching all of her calves that boats were dangerous entities to be avoided at all costs or confronted when entering their domains.
Learning this most valuable lesson from their mother, the calves are now mimicking her actions, possibly handing down their survival instincts to the next generation of their family.
If researchers are correct, then we can confirm a mother’s fierce love for her children has led to these latest encounters — dangerous to humans but potentially life-saving for orcas.
Gladis’ lessons to her calves remind me of Jesus’ words: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 22:37)
Even though humans ignore the words of Jesus, Gladis’ kids are willing and attentive.
Gladis and her lessons are a reaffirmation on the dangers of humans. From destruction of the environment to inhumane attitudes to other humans, humans have the capacity to be extremely dangerous and destructive.
There is no greater evidence than listening to the hateful and hurtful words of Christians, while watching their actions continue to contradict the teaching of the person they claim as Lord.
Some Christians continue perpetuating a false theology geared towards domination, exclusion and inequality. They claim special, divine revelation as evidence of their superiority.
These Christians ignore the human contribution to climate change, elevate male dominance in the world and the home, advocate for public policies that keep minority communities marginalized and oppressed, place women’s lives in danger by denying reproductive health care, demean the LGBTQIA+ community by their hateful rhetoric and dangerous legislative actions, and look upon all other faiths as threats.
Jesus called these types of oppressors a brood of vipers. My young friends would refer to them as monsters under their beds. Either way, the rest of the world needs to be careful of these Christians because their ideas are extremely dangerous.
Jesus warned his followers long ago: “I am sending you out like sheep among the wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). In other words, watch out, for there are things in the sea meant to cause you harm.
Gladis and her calves have it right; there are monsters in the sea — but it ain’t them.
Holocaust survivor Primo Michele Levi offered this wisdom long ago: “Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”
The world would be wise to learn the lessons from Gladis and her calves: There are monsters in the sea that mean you harm. Avoid them at all costs, but confront them when they come your way.
Only then will orcas and the rest of the sea creatures live in the mutually beneficial relationships their creator intended.
CEO of Good Faith Media.