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29 December 2006 Issue

1. Theology and Animals course at Xavier University

2. Vegetarian Food for Thought Podcasts

3. CVA Mailbox

4. Regarding Vegetarian Petfood

5. Christianity and Violence: Is Peacemaking Practical?

1. Theology and Animals: Theo 387
Xavier University - Spring Semester 2007; Tuesdays evenings 6:30-9 pm

Upper Division Course 3 Credits, Consortium (full-time students at any nearby college) welcome (no extra tuition)

All students welcome - no religious affiliation required Topics include: Who are the Animals? Do the animals have moral standing? Does violence to animals redound to us spiritually , psychologically, physically? Does patriarchy play a role? What do the Judeo-Christian scriptures say? What can we do about the problem?

Instructor: Theologian/Activist Dr. Elizabeth Farians; contact: ejf.ape@juno.com 

2. Vegetarian Food for Thought Podcasts
Each audio episode addresses commonly asked questions about animal rights, food, cooking, and nutrition demystifies what it means to "be vegan." Either subscribe or click "Play Now" to listen to individual topics.

Past episode topics:
Replacing Eggs in Cooking and Baking
Transitioning to a Vegan Diet - or- Tips for Eating Healthy The Emperor Has No Clothes or The Rise of Excuse-itarians 10 Tips for Eating Vegetarian in Social Situations Favorite Foods: Non-Dairy Milks The Myth of the "Perfect Vegan"
The Language of Meat
Being a "Joyful Vegan"
The Protein Myth and Vegetarianism
Where Do I get My Calcium if I Don't Drink Milk?


3. CVA Mailbox
Laura writes: Thank you very much for your e-mail! It is always wonderful to hear from someone who finds that following Christ and being an ethical vegan are compatible. It was actually a CVA leaflet that inspired my husband and I to do further research and go vegetarian and, finally, vegan.

4. Regarding Vegetarian Petfood
Lorena writes: Hi everyone. We have 3 dogs, ages: almost 15, almost 13 and 8. They're all on a vegetarian diet and are doing great! Prior to putting him on a veggie diet, our 13 year old dog had always suffered from bad skin allergies and ear infections despite being on allergy medicine and steroids constantly. Now, he's on a very low dose of allergy medicine and no steroids at all. No more ear infections either. We give them the "Natures Recipe"
kibbles and sometimes "Avo Derm" canned food. We haven't tried any other brands since these ones seem to work well for them.

5. Christianity and Violence: Is Peacemaking Practical?
[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It is being archived at http://www.christianveg.org/violence_view.htm.]

Peacemakers have often been victims of violence. From the many first century Christian pacifists1 who were martyred to the many victimized Quakers, peacemaking people have often been harassed and even killed.
Sometimes, peacemakers have incurred wrath because they have refused to join the scapegoating mobs, and sometimes those dedicated to peaceful living have found themselves attractive targets for violent people.

Proponents of pacifism have pointed to successful peaceful movements, such as those of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. However, both leaders were assassinated, and many of their followers were victims of violence. Furthermore, it could be argued that their success owed much to the fact that their oppressors feared violence from other quarters. Many Whites preferred accommodating Martin Luther King's nonviolent approach to the revolutionary, violent alternative encouraged by other emerging Black leaders. While nonviolent resistance by Blacks against segregation laws was an important part of the civil rights movement, another important component was the Civil Rights Act of 1965, which enforced desegregation. Similarly, British forces occupying India feared rising nationalism among hundreds of millions of Indians. This encouraged a peaceful transfer of power rather than a bloody and costly war. While the moral strength of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi encouraged effective, nonviolent resistance, the threat of violence from less pacifist-minded people likely played an important role in their success.

I think Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers" not because they will prevail in a physical sense (though sometimes they do2) but because they prevail in a spiritual sense. Christianity is not only about practical outcomes, illustrated by Jesus' comment to Pilate, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews" (John 18:36). Jesus was primarily concerned about serving God.

It is relatively easy to be nonviolent in the U.S., where a powerful military protects its citizens from harm. It is much more difficult in vulnerable parts of the world, particularly if one has children whom one naturally wants to protect. I am not convinced that Christianity mandates nonviolence in all situations, but I do think our faith is calling us to move toward nonviolence.

It is important to distinguish between being peaceful and being a peacemaker. The powers and principalities have no quarrel with those who peacefully acquiesce, and peaceful people may avoid violence and destruction. Peaceful people can be ruthlessly exploited, but rulers will find no need to violently repress them. In contrast, peacemakers challenge the powers and principalities, and they often become victims of wrathful violence. Peacemakers know that violence underlies all unjust social arrangements, because maintaining injustice requires violence against those who demand justice. Peacemakers recognize that the only way to end violence is to witness to and reveal injustice and violence, which can be dangerous work.

1. Akers, Keith. The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity. New York: Lantern Books, 2000.

2. Sharp, Gene. The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Boston, MA: Extending Horizon Books, 1973.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

Your question and comments are welcome

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