Weekly Newsletter - September 18, 2014
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Who Is Our Neighbor?
  2. A Comment on Violence
  3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Who Is Our Neighbor?

Jesus said we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Who is our neighbor? Jesus addressed that question with the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). He said that the Samaritan had compassion for the man who was injured and was a good neighbor to him. However, it remains unclear who is worthy of compassion. That is, who are those who we should love as ourselves?

The Good Samaritan story breaks down traditional notions of who is a neighbor, because the Samaritans were widely despised by the Hebrews. In exalting a Samaritan, Jesus taught that all people are worthy of admiration and emulation. What about nonhumans? We know that they share basic desires and feelings with humans, and members of many species have shown compassion and altruism.

Many people seem to regard all (or nearly all) humans as neighbors but deny that status to nonhumans. Since this attitude is widespread and largely unchallenged, few people give this speciesist position much thought. Does speciesism reflect prejudice or convenience, or is it based on legitimate grounds? The most common defense of human exceptionalism and human favoritism is that humans have souls and nonhumans do not. I will explore this argument next week.

Stephen R. Kaufman, MD


2. A Comment on Violence

Rev. Basil Wrighton of the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, who died in 1988, wrote:

As things are in our society, man is conditioned to violence and bloodshed from his earliest years. . . He can look unmoved at the ghastly display of mangled limbs and bleeding carcasses in a butcher’s shop. And he can see nothing but fun in the cruel massacres that are perpetrated in the name of ‘sport.’

“From this it is but a step – and an easy step — to accepting the dismemberment and massacre of one’s fellow-men in war as part of the order of things. . . And while such an attitude prevails, there can be no hope of banishing war.

“Our best hope, then, is to address the deeper level of man’s psyche and recondition him in his attitude to the animals. If we can convince him of the essential outrageousness of killing or injuring an animal, he will be far less disposed to kill or injure a fellow-man.”


3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Repentance Precedes Forgiveness


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