So, this past weekend, the Classical Association of the Middle West and South conference was sharing space at the Waco Convention Center with the Predator & Wild Hog Expo and the Modern Sporting Arms Expo. It made for an unlikely but interesting combination of conventioneers. After listening to a panel on the nuances of Roman love elegy, I made my way over to the exhibition floor.
This was truly the most amazing collection of weaponry I have ever seen. Guns of every variety were available–really big scary ones–as were nets, camping equipment, elaborate camo get-ups, portable stands, etc., etc. I counted at least three helicopters on the expo floor, props to promote “Heli-hunting” safaris where you track boar and shoot them from the air. I took a few discreet pictures with my iPhone, but these do not do justice to the sheer extent of items dedicated to apricide. I bought a T-shirt from a boar decoy provider, who also gave me a free beer koozie though they declined my challenge of saying “boar decoy beer koozie” ten times fast.
In front of one of the helicopters was a stand set up for something called “Hogs For A Cause.” A sign to pique the curiosity, to say the least. I stood before it until there appeared a gentle soul in a ten-gallon hat named Don, who read my mind. “So, you’re trying to figure out what we do?” Turns out HFAC (whose website is here) is an evangelical ministry connected with a boar-hunting operation. As their mission statement reads,
Hogs for a Cause has been given stewardship /access to property that is overrun with hogs. We provide guided hunts at no cost to anyone interested in hunting. These hunts reduce the feral hog population and the meat eases the financial burden of local families. Each hunt is accompanied with a short gospel presentation.
“So, is this like Hunters for the Hungry?” I asked. HFTH is a program organized through the Tennessee Wildlife Federation that joins hunters up with local processors for distributing free venison to the needy. “No,” he replied. “We give our meat out to everyone. Mostly it’s sausage we make. The other day we gave a bunch to some guys I found out later were millionaires. Look, everybody needs the Gospel–and everybody loves sausage.”
Hard to argue with that. Well, I suppose I could argue, if I really wanted to. “And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase” (Deut. 14:8; cf. Lev. 11:7) et cetera. And the whole “bloodsport for Jesus” thing verges on self-parody. But Christ himself once killed a bunch of pigs, so I guess there’s good precedent for his followers in central Texas.
For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. (Mark 5:8-13)