Weekly Newsletter from Christian Vegetarian Association CVA - March 21, 2019
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)


  1. Activist Feedback
  2. Joyful, Compassionate Eating in Korean – Review of Draft Needed
  3. Original Sin, part 69
  4. All-Creatures.Org Ministry

1. Activist Feedback
 
One Vegan Outreach staff member, Stacy, joined Rick and another volunteer at Knoxville Winter Jam on February 22. They distributed 2,475 booklets in the rain.
 
Comment: Great work, particularly considering the conditions! I want to give a shout-out to Vegan Outreach, which has been very helpful in recruiting volunteers to leaflet at Winter Jam events.


2. Joyful, Compassionate Eating in Korean – Review of Draft Needed
 
I’m pleased to report that a CVA member has translated our booklet into Korean. He has requested that someone who is fluent in Korean review the booklet for clarity and readability. Please contact [email protected] if you can help.


3. Original Sin, part 69: The Danger of Utopian Thinking
 
Chris Hedges once wrote that all utopian ideologies require the banishment of empathy. This is certainly true of the personal utopian dream to satisfy all our needs and desires. Even if this dream can’t be fully realized, it can direct our choices. Indeed, we see its manifestation in people choosing to consume animal products derived from massive cruelty to satisfy their taste preferences.
 
We can readily see the truth in Hedges’ comment by looking at theocrats of all stripes, who want to see what they think are the laws of God governing all humans. Many humans and nonhumans alike suffer for at least two reasons. First, rigid “laws of God” fail to take into consideration extenuating circumstances that might otherwise evoke sympathy and compassion. Second, people tend to define the “laws of God” in self-serving ways that validate such pernicious ideologies as racism, sexism, and speciesism.
 
Animal rights might also be a utopian dream, but it is a dream that differs from all others in that it seeks compassion and justice for everyone. Nonetheless, animal rights advocates sometimes seem to lack empathy. Many animal rights advocates seem to have little compassion for those engaged in animal abuse. However, as I discuss in my book Guided by the Faith of Christ, human domination of animals reflects, in part, deep-seated human fears. This observation does not justify mistreating nonhumans, but it should be a source of empathy for humans who are struggling to find equanimity in their lives.
 
Likewise, many animal rights advocates oppose efforts to ameliorate conditions on factory farms. Those “reforms” that do not meaningfully improve animal welfare are justifiably opposed. But, many oppose efforts to reduce animal ill-fare on farms, and often challenge the motives of those advocating reforms, stating that anything short of animal liberation is a doomed strategy. While it is possible that animal liberation is the most promising strategy, this is by no means a certainty. To the degree that the ideology of animal liberation trumps efforts to reduce the suffering of untold millions of animals today, pursuit of the utopian ideal has blocked empathy for current suffering.
 
Despite these concerns, utopian thinking has potential value. We can find inspiration and direction from imaging the ideal. And, striving for absolutes can be an effective strategy, as was seen in the American anti-slavery movement. However, I think we must acknowledge that, in this fallen world, utopia is not possible. We should not let perfection be the enemy of the good.
 
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.


4. All-Creatures.Org Ministry


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