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CVA Weekly Newsletter
July 24, 2013

  1. Activist Feedback
  2. Essay: Applying John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice to Animal Issues
  3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback
Jordon, who leafleted at the Third Day concert on July 11 in Oshkosh, WI, writes:
I got to the festival grounds at 5:20 and begun distributing as soon as I could. I will be honest, my expectations were pretty low (being in the center of a state that prides itself on its dairy and meat economy), but I found that about half of the people to whom I handed the flyer took one gratefully.
There were a few goofballs who said things like "I love meat" to prove themselves edgy among their companions but I wished them well.
One man came over and begun to ask me about the choice and why I had decided to become a vegetarian in light of G-d placing us over the nonhumans to rule. I peacefully and patiently explained my belief and then he begun to belittle and degrade so I wished him peace and excused myself from the interaction.
I wrapped up around 7:15 when I noticed that everybody was in the festival grounds (likely for Third Day or Five Iron Frenzy). I gave out well over half the quantity of flyers and have been distributing what's left at church and in my peace community of which I am a part.
Thanks for the opportunity to serve!
Upcoming Activist Opportunities
7/30      NV   Sparks        The Afters
7/31-8/3 NH   Gilford       SoulFest
8/01      WV   Charleston         Need to Breathe
8/01      AL   Birmingham         Motion Student Conference
8/02      TX   Midland       Third Day
8/02      GA   Norcross      Victory World Music Worship Concert
8/02      OK   Oklahoma City Women of Faith Tour
8/02      AL   Birmingham         A Night under the Lights
8/02-03   NC   Durham        Healthy Church 2013
8/03      NH   Gilford       SoulFest – Sanctus Real
8/7-10    WA   Enumclaw      CreationFest 
8/10      MI   Centreville        Hope Fest - Manic Drive
8/10      NC   Greenville         Salvador
8/08      IA   Des Moines         Casting Crowns
8/09      OH   Columbus      Women of Faith Tour
8/10      TN   Knoxville     Karen Peck & New River
8/11      OH   Cincinnati         Mercy Me
8/11      CO   Denver        Crowder
8/15      AL   Birmingham         Jars of Clay
8/16      NC   Charlotte     Jars of Clay
8/16      NC   Asheville     Casting Crowns
8/16      IL   Peoria        Women of Faith Tour
8/17      FL   Tampa              Tabling – Total Wellness Health Fair
8/17      TN   Knoxville     Jars of Clay
8/17      VA   Fairfax       Newsboys – DC Fest
8/18      VA   Williamsburg  Third Day
8/18      IL   Springfield        Powerlight Festival
8/23          MI   Battle Creek  Promise Keepers Men's Conference
8/23      FL   Jacksonville  Jars of clay
8/23      IA   Des Moines         Women of Faith Tour
8/23      IN   Indianapolis  Women of Faith Tour
8/24      FL   Orlando       Jars of Clay
8/24      OR   Portland      Point of Grace
8/25      CO   Denver        Sanctus Real
8/29      TN   Nashville     Jars of Clay
8/29–31   GA   Duluth        Influences Conference
8/30-9/1  SD   Worthing      The Lifelight Festival
9/06      FL   Orlando       Audio Adrenaline
9/07      FL   Orlando       Casting Crowns
9/07      FL   Kissimmee     Newsboys
9/10      AR   Little Rock        Jars of Clay
9/12      NY   New York      Third Day
9/14      AZ   Phoenix       Point of Grace
9/14      TX   Waco          Manic Drive – Small Town America Tour 2013
9/20          OK   Tulsa              Promise Keepers Men's Conference
9/20-21   VA   Middleburg         Awakening Festival 2013
9/21      IL   Chicago       VeganMania
9/27      NC   Charlotte     Plumb
9/28      SC   Columbia      Plumb
9/28      DC   Washington         DC Veg Fest
9/29      GA   Macon              Plumb
9/28      TX   Tyler              Point of Grace
10/06         MA   Pittsfield         Kings and Queens Tour 2013
10/10–13  AL   Fort Payne         The Courage
10/19         FL   Tampa Bay      Tampa Bay Veg Fest
10/25     FL   Daytona       Promise Keepers Men's Conference
10/29         PA   Pittsburgh         JCTV Tour
11/01         PA   Blakely       Third Day
11/09         GA   Atlanta        Atlanta Veg Fest
11/24         TN   Nashville     National Youth Convention
12/07         NY   New York City Toby Mac Hits Deep Tour
Contact Lorena at lmucke@bellsouth.net if you can help.

2. Essay: Applying John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice to Animal Issues
John Rawls’ book A Theory of Justice has generated much discussion among ethicists, and I think for good reason. A distinctive feature of his theory was his description of a hypothetical “original position.” In attempt to avoid the biases that invariably arise when people have a stake in ethical choices, Rawls envisioned people determining the rules and policies of society behind a “veil of ignorance” in that they did not know who they would be in the society they constructed. People would choose a society in which 1% of the people had 99% of society’s wealth, because there would be a 99% chance that they would be among the impoverished poor and only a 1% chance that they would be rich.
Though I think there is much to commend Rawls’ book, he stumbles badly when it comes to animal issues, leaving this important topic for later consideration. Should the original position include nonhumans? In other words, do nonhumans have moral standing whose interests should be taken into account? I think we should imagine nonhumans at the original position, giving them hypothetical votes in this hypothetical arrangement, because they have a subjective inner life with feelings, emotions, and desires, much as we have. In contrasts, as best we can tell, plants do not have feelings and cannot be wronged in the same way that sentient beings can be wronged. I do not think we need to include individual plants as present in the original position.
Some might argue against including nonhumans in the original position, because nonhumans are unable to understand the social contract that Rawls’ original position demands. However, the same is true of many who are mentally disabled. The point of the original position is to present the interests of anyone who might gain or lose as a consequence of society’s rules, and nonhumans have at least as much to gain or lose as humans. Similar to those who are mentally disabled, many nonhumans are extremely vulnerable, and their only protection against abuse at the hands of humans are rules and regulations that restrain humans.
For many people, including nonhumans in the original position is counter-intuitive. Many people can readily imagine themselves as being a human of a different gender or skin color, but many have difficulty envisioning themselves as nonhumans. For the purposes of applying Rawls’ theory appropriately, I think we should.
Next week, I will suggest that, given the mystery of our personal existence, we should be open to the possibility that our sense of personal identity (often identified as the “soul”), could exist in a nonhuman being.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Evil in the World

Your question and comments are welcome

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