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Update Newsletters
24 June 2007 Issue

1. New CVA Educational Materials

2. Don’t Let Congress Undo State and Local Animal Laws

3. CVA Activism

4. Christianity and Violence: Is There Hope? [final essay of the series]


1. New CVA Educational Materials:

3-Part Curriculum


We are pleased to announce a 3-session curriculum entitled The Earth is the Lord’s, which is an interactive program that looks at our responsibilities to God’s Creation.  A 2-4 minute video precedes each 50-minute session.  The DVD, curriculum, and moderator’s guide is $5, post paid.


Honoring God’s Creation DVD


This popular 26-minute DVD has been mass-produced to reduce costs and is now in an attractive cardboard sleeve for only $2 each, post-paid.


To order, go to www.christianveg.org/materials.htm.


2. Don't Let Congress Undo State and Local Animal Laws
[Alert from the Humane Society of the United States]

A small provision – Section 123 – tucked into the pending Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would prohibit states and localities from banning activities they deem to be contrary to public health, safety, and morals. Section 123 would undo bans on horse slaughter, intensive confinement of pigs and calves raised for veal, force-feeding of ducks and geese to make foie gras, and other important laws. It's an outrageous power grab that would undermine the democratic process and deny citizens the right to pass state or local laws on issues of humane treatment or food safety.

This could be the most urgent alert ever! If we don't get rid of Section 123, people who've worked so hard to get state and local animal protection laws passed – investing hours and hours in good faith that their involvement in the legislative process matters – will find out that their hard-won achievements are wiped out by this heavy-handed federal law.

Please make brief, polite phone calls to your two U.S. Senators and one U.S. Representative and urge them to oppose Section 123 of the House Farm Bill. You can reach your federal legislators by calling the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

After you make your phone calls, please go to the following URL to email your senators and representative.




2. CVA Activism

Leafleting at Jars of Clay at Chattanooga, TN on 6/12, Libby writes:  My husband and I handed out over 1000 booklets . . . it was GRRRRRRRRRRRREAT!

People were very receptive and this was an excellent event to cover.  Riverbend is one of Chattanooga's largest tourist attractions and is attended by thousands of locals. 


Upcoming events for which we need volunteers:


7/3 CA Calistoga        Salvadore Christian Rock Concert
7/4 FL West Palm      Beach Newsong Christian Rock Concert
7/4 OK Tulsa             Salvadore Christian Rock Concert
7/4 NC  Concord        Tait Band Christian "FreedomCelebration"
7/4 CA Corona           Phil Wickham Christian Rock Concert
7/5 LA  New Orleans Smokie Norful Christian Concert
7/5-7     OH Mason     Spirit Song Festival
7/6 VA  Doswell         Disciple & Kings Fest Christian Rock Concert
7/6 CO  Olathe            Barlow Girl Christian Rock Concert (free!)
7/7 IA   Grimes           Newsong Christian Rock Concert
7/7 OH Kings Mills     Disciple Christian Rock Concert
7/7 PA  Pottstown      Pillar Christian Rock Concert
7/7 NY  New Jersey   Live Earth "Green" Festival
7/7 CO  Englewood    Mercy Me Uprising Festival
7/7 OH  Mason           Spirit Song Festival
7/7 FL Bonifay            Bill Bailey All-Night Singing & Talent Search
7/7 CA Anaheim         Xclaimed Fest & Barlow Girl Christian Rock Concert
7/7 CA San Diego       Rebecca St. James Passion For Purity Conference
7/7-8 NY New York   Creating Sustainable Communities: The Social Dimension



4. Christianity and Violence: Is There Hope?

This is the final essay of a series that has been running for three years.  I appreciate the loyal readers and those who have offered feedback, both critical and supportive.  I am in the process of organizing these essays into a book.


[This series has reflected my views and not "official" CVA positions.  It has been archived at http://www.christianveg.org/violence_view.htm.]


    Technological progress has improved human well-being in many ways, and some maintain that we should expect this trend to continue.  While science and technology have generated beneficial medical and material discoveries, they have also produced factory farming, global warming nuclear weapons, and sophisticated technologies of population surveillance and control.  U.S. citizens have enjoyed a remarkable increase in material wealth since the 1950s, but studies indicate that Americans are more anxious and less happy than two generations ago.28 From a global perspective, we now have sufficient resources to feed, clothe, and shelter everyone, yet poverty remains widespread, and it appears that people have not become safer or more contented.


Though knowledge can help assist us to make wiser decisions, we know from experience that knowledge does not guarantee loving, compassionate choices.  I have seen no association between intelligence and kindness.  If the psychological and anthropological theories discussed in this essay series are correct, the reason is that our feelings and beliefs are heavily colored by deep, often heavily repressed fears related to vulnerability and death.  Desperate to reduce our terror, we tend to cling to violent and destructive worldviews that assuage our fears by projecting our fears and hatreds onto other individuals.  As a consequence of the scapegoating process, human fears and hatreds manifest themselves in “sacred” myths, rituals, and taboos.  Therefore, roiling underneath individual façades of psychological equanimity and cultural façades of manners and civility are passions that readily lead to injustice and violence.  Because we are often slaves to our passions, human rationality alone cannot generate justice and peace.


    Nevertheless, I believe that the human mind, if empowered by the Holy Spirit, can effectively resist the attractions of the scapegoating process.  Those who have “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5) or the “faith of Christ” (James 2:1) do not necessarily need to identify themselves as Christian or even religious; rather, they find themselves drawn to caring, compassionate, loving relationships with everyone.  They have a faith or worldview that addresses our deep psychological hopes and fears, including our fears of death, our related fears of damaged self-esteem, and our spiritual need to connect to the source of our life, which Christians call God.  If the members of our communities gained these psychological and spiritual needs, we would likely find ways to live and work together with respect, love and peace, and there would likely be enough physical and spiritual resources for everyone.


    This need for widespread adoption of the faith of Christ is urgent.  For animals, human civilization without the faith of Christ is hell-on-earth, and manifests itself as factory farming, animal experimentation, the fur industry, rodeos, destruction of natural habitats, etc.  For humans, the civilization that has provided effective medicines and surgical techniques, clean water, comfortable housing, wondrous works of art, and numerous other benefits is on a self-destructive path.  While Christian faith teaches that God will eventually reconcile Creation (Isaiah 9:6-9), humankind will determine the immediate future of human civilization and life on earth. 


      The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the persistence of wars, and the reluctance of the world to respond vigorously to the growing environmental crisis have made many people fear imminent catastrophe.  The problem, however, is that people have always tended seen themselves in relation to other people, not in relation to God.  The desire to be distinct from, and better than, one’s siblings, one’s neighbors, one’s neighboring community, and one’s neighboring country has promoted mimetic rivalry, interpersonal conflict, communal discord, and tribalism – all of which have led to violence, and scapegoating.  If human nature forces us to participate in scapegoating and violence, there would seem to be little hope.  However, there appear to be individuals and communities that emphasize cooperation and nurturing and discourage violence, and they offer “a light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6; see also 49:6), confirming that people can transcend their violent tendencies.


      Can powerful human motivations be channeled in non-violent directions?  Ernest Becker noted that humans need self-esteem as a salve against the universal fear of death, and he was pessimistic about humankind’s prognosis.29 In general, people respond to “mortality anxiety” with behaviors that harm the earth, animals, and fellow humans.  However, Christianity offers a path to self-esteem, psychological well-being, and communal cohesiveness that does not involve harming or destroying anyone else.


    Will Christians and non-Christians gravitate toward a faith of Christ that favors love and compassion?  Many are doubtful, since so much violence and destructiveness has been done in the name of Christ and since many contemporary Christians seem to exhibit hardness of heart.  Whether or not Christianity can inspire people to save the world from humankind’s destructiveness, the faith of Christ as described in the Bible offers a path towards communal healing as well as individual salvation.  While the future challenges to human civilization seem imposing, and while it is impossible to rid our lives of physical suffering or of anxieties related to mortality, Jesus taught that following him can help heal broken relationships and save us from a sense of meaninglessness and despair.


    If Jesus could manifest a sense of purpose and show love even while suffering and dying, we too may meet life’s difficulties (including the specter of death shadowing our lives) gracefully.  In other words, we can find solutions that do not make others suffer either with us or for us.  Jesus taught that we should aim not to serve ourselves, but rather to serve others.  Doing so allows us to participate in the world’s reconciliation, rather than contribute to “the whole creation . . . groaning in travail” (Romans 8:22).  This is perhaps Christianity’s central truth claim – that God loves all Creation, including each of us, and God’s ideal is universal peace and harmony.  Consequently, faithful Christians should seek to serve God by serving others, which gives our lives direction and meaning; neutralizes our fear of death; and makes our lives joyful.  I am convinced that this is why Jesus instructed, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).


1. Klerman G.L. and Weissman, M.M. “Increasing rates of depression” Journal of the American Medical Association 1989;261:2229-2235; Greenberg, Paul E., Kessler, Ronald C., Birnbaum, Howard G., et al. “The Economic Burden of Depression in the United States: How Did It change Between 1990-2000?” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2003;64:1465-1475.

2. Becker, Ernest. Escape from Evil. New York: The Free Press, 1975.


Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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