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CVA Weekly Newsletter
January 9, 2013

  1. Upcoming Activist Opportunities
  2. Essay: When Should We Make Analogies to the Holocaust?
  3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev Frank and Mary Hoffman
  4. The January-February Issue of The Peaceable Table Is Now Online
  5. Comment on “Universal Prayer of Forgiveness” [in last week’s e-newsletter, January 2, 2013]

1. Upcoming Activist Opportunities

1/17  PA Reading          Winter Jam Christian Concert
1/18  PA University       Park Winter Jam Christian Concert
1/19  AZ Phoenix           Thousand Foot Krutch Christian Rock Concert
1/19  OH Columbus       Winter Jam Christian Concert
1/19  KS Hays                 Third Day Christian Concert
1/20  IN Ft. Wayne         Winter Jam Christian Concert
1/20  KS Oakley             Third Day Christian Rock Concert
2/21  VA Fairfax              Third Day Christian Rock Concert
1/25  TX Amarillo            Third Day Christian Rock Concert
1/25  MO Kansas City    Winter Jam Christian Concert
1/26  IA Des Moines        Winter Jam Christian Concert
1/27  IL Peoria               Winter Jam Christian Concert
1/30  IN Evansville        Winter Jam Christian Concert

2. Essay: When Should We Make Analogies to the Holocaust?

I have been exploring the question of whether we should use Nazi and Holocaust imagery when discussing contemporary treatment of nonhuman beings, particularly in relation to factory farms. As Charles Patterson shows in his book Eternal Treblinka, the analogy is a valid one in many respects – the experiences of the victims and the strategies and rationalizations of the victimizers are very similar. Yet such analogies often anger people, in part because some people claim that the analogies denigrate the victims of the Holocaust in perhaps in part because people resent being compared to Nazis.

Analogies can be important rhetorical tools, but they can also undermine an argument if the focus of the argument shifts to the validity of the analogy itself. If we are trying to show that animals experience extreme suffering on factory farms, we don’t want the discussion to shift from the animals’ experience to whether or not it is appropriate to make analogies to the Holocaust.

Further, the emotions that analogies to the Holocaust elicit in many people can make it difficult for them to focus attention on the animals’ plight. Therefore, I think that, however valid analogies to the Holocaust might be, we must be careful when using them. Accusing people of Nazi-like behavior will generally result in defensiveness and anger and will usually be unproductive. However, referring to modern animal agribusiness facilities as “like concentration camps” and noting that the extreme suffering and the mechanized murder “resembles the Holocaust” can be, in the proper setting and with the right audience, an effective way to communicate what the animals experience.

Do analogies to the Holocaust demean victims of this great tragedy? Which tragedy is greater – the Holocaust’s murder of about 9 million people or contemporary animal agribusiness’ murder of about10 billion sentient beings each year? I will offer thoughts on these questions next week.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Where Was Jesus Born?

4. The January-February Issue of The Peaceable Table Is Now Online

Contents include:

* In the Editor's Corner Guest Essay, "Communicating with Animals," Dorothy Tucker Samuel develops an idea of Dallas Willard that in the Eden story, "have dominion" means that human beings are charged by God with relating to animals as God relates to us: in a way that fosters peace, healing, and liberation among them. But the widespread human exploitation of animals, especially killing them for food, is doing just the opposite.  Readers may be interested in the analogies between this Biblically-based concept and Katherine Hulme's idea that "the animals are waiting" for us to become increasingly God-realized, so that they may climb the evolutionary ladder to peace after us (see the Editor's Corner essay http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue66.html).

* A NewsNote tells of an international survey showing that empowered women are more compassionate than their not-yet-empowered counterparts.

* The Jan-Feb. Pioneer is Gina Cerminara, a compassionate Renaissance woman who worked in the areas of psychology, parapsychology, general semantics, spirituality, and vegetarianism.

* A review of the film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey finds fault with its flood of violence, but also points out its wonderful picture of the relationship between rational beings and animals in Middle Earth.

To read this issue, see http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue94.html.

Do you know of outlets where you might distribute copies of our 16-page booklet "Are Animals Our Neighbors? Taking the View From Below" (see Review, http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue21.html .) 

If so, contact us and we will be glad to send you a copy to check out, and/or as many copies as you can find homes for.  We appreciate financial help, but our central concern is getting the word out.

Toward the Peaceable Kingdom,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

5. Comment on “Universal Prayer of Forgiveness” [in last week’s e-newsletter, January 2, 2013]

I am troubled by what I see as the apparent inference in the "Universal Prayer of Forgiveness" that every experience we may have, including horrible ones such as attacks by criminals, should be considered as "from God”. While we may learn from them the manner and extent to which God allows his created beings to use or abuse their gift of free will, and the danger that may pose to us or others (including to the beings tortured on factory farms) I do not believe that a loving God causes such things to happen; and we should not believe that He does, as that may make us willing victims and/or apathetic.

Rather, it should encourage us to band together with others interested in leading lives of love and gentility; both for our safety, and for the example it can set (especially by the witnessed Blessings it encourages) for society at large.


Your question and comments are welcome

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