Weekly Newsletter - October 29, 2014
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Harming Animals Harms Humans: Undermining Any Universal Ethic
  2. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
  3. Petition for Pope Francis
  4. The October Peaceable Table Is Online
  5. Upcoming Activist Opportunities

1. Harming Animals Harms Humans: Undermining Any Universal Ethic

I have been arguing that, if humanity is to address the threats to human civilization, such as war, depletion of resources, and the growing environmental crisis, there must be a universal ethic to inspire cooperation and sacrifices in standards of living. Such an ethic must make sense to people of all faiths as well as people who reject religious belief. Otherwise, large segments of society will refuse to assist in saving civilization, and, dispirited, most of the rest will likely take an “every man for himself” approach that seems to doom humanity.
 
The problem is that, as long as humans abuse animals for relatively trivial human benefits, this dream of human cooperation and salvation appears impossible. Whatever the value or values we might propose to unite humanity – such as the Golden Rule (do to others as we would like done to us), opposition to oppression and cruelty, and defense of the weak – are fundamentally undermined by the unjust, massive mistreatment of nonhuman beings, for at least two reasons. First, tolerating (or even financially supporting) animal abuse fundamentally contradicts those principles. Second, it is easy to shift the arbitrary boundary between human and animal to human and "lower" human and then abuse those "lower" humans.
 
The problem is that we know that nonhumans can suffer. If we thought otherwise, then damaging animals’ bodies would seem ethically irrelevant, much as we don’t regard breaking stones morally repugnant. But, animals can obviously suffer and be wronged, and the decision to harm them requires abandoning any values that might otherwise form a foundation for human peace, harmony, and sustenance.
 
I don’t believe in the notion of karma that asserts that individual sinners will someday get their comeuppance, either in this life or a future life. However, there is a kind of karma in what I think the future holds for humanity. We have chosen to abuse animals on a massive scale, and my previous essays have shown how this directly harms humans in terms of health, hunger, and environmental damage. More fundamentally, animal abuse seems to place humanity on a self-destructive course, much as so many authoritarian regimes in the past collapsed because the violence and injustice that maintained their power were poisons that led to internal fighting, poor management, and economic and military disasters.
 
I’ve painted a dismal picture (from the perspective of humans – innumerable nonhumans would benefit greatly from the collapse of human civilization.) How should we as Christians respond to this situation? I’ll offer some thoughts next week.
 
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.


2. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
 
Trusting God Unconditionally Even Unto Death


3. Petition for Pope Francis
 
CVA member Mariusz Wesolowski writes:
 
I have posted online a petition asking Pope Francis to speak for mercy toward all animals.

Please see http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/to-his-holiness-pope-francis-please-speak-for-christian-mercy-toward-animals.html.


4. The October Peaceable Table Is Online
 
Find the issue online here. Contents include:

* The Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom shows a cat and a calf cuddling together.

* The Editor's Corner Essay "Power, Fear, and Spirit" describes the radically egalitarian ideas of Quakers, based on a conviction of the presence of the divine Spirit in all persons, and the ways they heightened people's anxiety in an atmosphere of religious, social and political turmoil. They were thought of rather as terrorists are today, despite their commitment to Peace. Similarly, we as animal activists, though most of us are also committed to peace, hold ideas that cause us to be regarded as terrorists, and threatened by unjust laws. In this situation, we can learn from early Friends.

* In Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love, theologian Elizabeth A. Johnson provides a meaningful interface between evolutionary theory and the central affirmation of Christianity – indeed, of all three Abrahamic religions – that God is loving to all.

* Our Pioneer is Anne Finch Conway, an extraordinary English aristocrat deeply concerned with the meaning of pain, who used her social power to befriend Quakers in prison.  Her vitalist philosophy, formed in reaction to Descartes' dualism, emphasized the kinship of all beings, and condemned the abuse and killing of animals; indeed, we owe them both justice and love.

Toward the Peaceable Kingdom,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor


5. Upcoming Activist Opportunities
 
11/01-02/14 AZ, Tucson VegFest Tucson
11/06/2014 MN, Duluth Newsboys
11/06/2014 FL, Jacksonville Casting Crowns
11/08/2014 Al, Huntsville St. Thomas Episcopal Church’s LobsterFest
11/08/2014 WA, Seattle David Crowder
11/08/2014 MI, Muskegon Newsboys
11/08/2014 NC, Greensboro  Casting Crowns
11/13-15/14 TX, Houston Joyce Meyer Conferences 2014 
11/14/2014 PA, Bethlehem Newsboys
11/15/2014 FL, West Palm Beach Casting Crowns
11/20/2014 GA, Macon Third Day
11/22/2014 FL, Jacksonville  Tenth Avenue North
11/22/2014 OK, Tulsa Casting Crowns
12/04/2014 VA, Fairfax Casting Crowns
12/05/2014 OH, Cincinnati Tenth Avenue North
12/05/2014 PA, Reading   Casting Crowns
12/07/2014 PA, Pittsburgh Casting Crowns
12/10/2014 MN, Rochester Newsboys
12/11/2014 LA, New Orleans Third Day
12/18/2014 MN, St. Paul   Newsboys
12/20/2014 FL, Tampa Third Day
 
Contact Lorena at [email protected] if you can help out. 


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