by Alexa Linger
“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” – George Orwell
Oink: Heaven’s Butcher is a graphic novel by author and illustrator John Mueller that was originally published in 1996. In it, Mueller creates an Orwellian society where men are cross-bred with pigs to create man/pigs who are used as slaves to work in the slaughterhouses run by Cardinal Bacaar. This is a society where the man/pigs are oppressed and not allowed to ask questions under the threat of death. This is a society where they are told that they are not allowed to enter Heaven. However, Oink begins to ask questions, causing a chain of events that changes his life forever.
One day, Oink’s close friend, Spigot, announces that he is “no longer blind to your lies.” He then declares himself a “free animal.” For this he is crucified, though the man/pigs are made to believe that he is ill and needed to be saved. But from whom? Himself?
Throughout history, countless people have been killed (or martyred) in the name of religion. This has been happening as early as the 11th century when Christians went to war with Muslims during The Crusades.
It can be said that Oink embarks on a war of his own.
Oink and the other man/pigs are told that they are dumb of mind and strong of body and that they’re only purpose is to serve. They will, according to the cardinal, not be allowed in Heaven, the land of angels and light. They must obey.
Is this false dogma?
The very definition of dogma is “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.” And Cardinal Bacaar is the authority figure in the novel.
In Timothy 2:14-19, the Bible says:
“Remind them of these things and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter for it will lead to further ungodliness and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus; men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection is already taken place and thus they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands having this seal, the Lord knows those who are His and let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness.”
What does this mean for Oink? What does this mean for us?
Surely, it means that Scripture (i.e. The Good Book) affirms that God is truth and cannot lie… Satan is a liar. So, let’s think for a minute…
What if everything you’ve ever known ended up being a lie? Maybe you grew up in a fundamentalist religion and the notion is all too familiar. Maybe you wanted to ask questions, but you were afraid.
Why is seeking the truth so dangerous?
Why are they so afraid?
Why do they feel the need to oppress anyone who questions their societal norms?
This may have to do (entirely) with religion.
Religious oppression, and false dogma, is so dangerous because people believe them to be true simply because that’s what they’re told. Let’s look at Islam, for example. Islamic religious “laws” have become governing laws for Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. In turn, this (in a sense Levitical Law) has created massive inequality, sexism, classism, and a totalitarian dictatorship in those regions, which caused a rift between genders and the poor and wealthy. Similarly, this has occurred in Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, and many more religions. And it’s still happening today.
Could we, in contemporary America, end up like the characters in Oink: Heaven’s Butcher?
Because, as we are reminded, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” Thus, as individuals and a society, it’s important to uphold our constitution that is built upon religious freedom and freedom, in general. If we follow the words of those who twist and pervert the Bible to make us conform, we could end up in a slaughterhouse like Oink. Namely, in order to retain our freedom, we need to think, fight, and stand up for our beliefs, no matter how trivial they seem.