Flying with a peacock

There are so many satire sites out there these days, it’s tough to take any bit of ridiculousness seriously — which is, I suppose, a good thing.  Anyway, I figured it was probably a gag when I saw United Airlines had denied a seat and ticket to a woman’s pet peacock, which she needed as an “emotional support animal.”

But no, this one appears to be legit.  It happened a week or so ago at Newark International.  There is video and everything.  The peacock did not conform to standards for in-cabin animals and that the customer (the human one) was informed three separate times before arriving at the airport, according to a statement from United.  She came anyway, bird in tow.  She initially expected the peacock to be given a free ride, but later expressed a willingness to purchase it a ticket.  Still she was denied by the heartless souls at United.

I spent one weekend in a cabin that had peacocks on the grounds, and I can tell you I would prefer a howler monkey, boa constrictor or tarantula to be sitting next to me from Newark to Nashville.  That’s assuming the bird can get its massive plumage through the door and into a seat in the first place.

If the peacock lessens the woman’s stress, I say let her have the peacock.  Weird, but fine.  But my personal comfort cannot come at the expense of everyone else’s. 

We used to understand that.  We used to be embarrassed when our needs inconvenienced someone else.  We adapted.  We bent over backward.  We did not flaunt imaginary “rights” and expect the rest of humanity to deal with it. But I fear our society has lost all sense of community responsibility.

Worse, that attitude of selfishness and indifference to others is infecting the church.  People who are supposed to be loving each other — and Jesus Himself said that would be our signature characteristic (John 13:34-35) — should be looking for opportunities to spare others’ feelings and consider others’ welfare, not haphazardly stumbling through life, guided solely by our own needs and preferences.

We are a body, and as such we are “individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5-6).  The choices we make, even the ones that seem to be personal, affect our brethren.  From what we wear to how we entertain ourselves to how we rear our children, these actions have ramifications for our brethren that we must consider.  Simply saying, “This is what’s best for me,” or, “This is what’s best for my family” isn’t enough!  What’s best for me and my family is the glorification of God within the body of Christ (Ephesians 3:20-21).  That means my personal preferences will need to take a back seat from time to time.