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Update Newsletters
5 August 2009 Issue

1. Activist Update

2. Reflection on the Lectionary: Does the “Golden Rule” Apply to Animals?

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

1. Activist Update (amazing report!)

Joe, Rick, Mare, Pamela, and Nancy distributed 4350 CVA booklets to attendees of the Franklin Graham Rock the River Tour in St. Louis, which had a heavy teenage turnout. Great work, folks!

Gracia Fay, who tabled with Kate for the CVA at the Animal Rights 2009 Conference, relates that the conference went very well. There was a great deal of interest in our materials. Thanks, Gracia Fay and Kate!

Upcoming Leafleting Opportunities

8/10 WI West Allis Mercy Me Christian Rock Concert

8/12 TN Franklin The Katina's Christian Rock Concert

8/12 IN Indianapolis Mercy Me Christian Rock Concert

8/14-15 MN Winsted Higher Ground Music Festival

8/14-15 FL Tampa Women of Faith Conference

8/14 ND Bismarck Phil Wickham Christian Concert

8/14-16 CA Anaheim Harvest Crusade

8/15 MI Mt. Pleasant Pillar Christian Rock Concert

8/15 NC Asheville New Song Christian Rock Concert

8/16 WI Eau Claire Phil Wickham Christian Concert

8/16 TN Clarksville Natalie Grant Mother-Daughter Tea

8/16 MN St Paul Billy Grahams Rock the River Tour

8/20 OK Lawton Kutless Christian Rock Concert

8/21-22 TX Dallas Women of Faith Conference

8/21 TX Cypress Mercy Me Christian Rock Concert

8/21 AR Springdale Kutless Christian Rock Concert

8/22 TX Houston Mercy Me Christian Rock Concert

8/22 MO Moscow Mills Kutless Christian Rock Concert

8/23 TN Memphis Pillar Christian Rock Concert

8/24 NJ Ocean City Kutless Christian Rock Concert

8/29 NV Las Vegas Somebody Loves You / Exit Concert

9/5 NJ Frenchtown Resilient K Christian Rock Group

9/11-12 TX Waco Just Give Me Jesus Angel Ministries

9/12 CA San Francisco Power to the Peaceful Festival

9/12 CA Chula Vista Switchfoot Christian Rock Concert

9/16-19 TN Nashville 2009 AACC Grace and Truth World Conference

9/19 NY Albany TABLE NY's Capital Region Vegetarian Expo

9/23-26 MA Boston Natural Products Expo East

10/2-3 MI Grand Rapids Hearts at Home Conference

10/3-4 CA San Francisco TABLE World Vegetarian Festival

10/16-18 CA Burbank Healthy Lifestyle Expo

10/24 FL Orlando TABLE Central Florida Veg Fest

11/7-9 WI Milwaukee Call To Action 2008 National Conference

11/13-14 MN St Paul The Christian Community Fair    

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com  if you can to help. To find out about all upcoming leafleting and tabling opportunities in your area, join the CVA Calendar Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/christian_vegetarian/

2. Reflection on the Lectionary: Does the “Golden Rule” Apply to Animals?

August 9

Last week, I argued that the “golden rule” is a nearly universal moral guide, and Christianity has its own version (Mt 7:12). Should we consider animals among the “others” to which the rule applies?

I think the answer is yes. Sentient animals who can experience pain and pleasure can be wronged, and I find no good reason to exclude them from moral consideration under the golden rule. Some argue that animals lack certain mental capabilities, and this gives them “inferior” status. There are at least two problems with is contention. First, science has shown that the mental abilities of animals are far greater than once suspected, in part because we have used human abilities as the measure of cognition, and in part because animals in their natural environments show far richer mental capacities than animals who have been confined to mentally and socially impoverished, highly stressful, laboratory conditions.

Second, many humans, such as those with mental disabilities, brain damage, or senility, have smaller mental capacities than many animals. Yet we believe that they deserve equal consideration as other humans. Christian defenders of human exceptionalism often point to Genesis 1:27 in which God created humanity in God’s image. However, the Bible itself shows that God cares about all creation. And Jesus taught that we should serve each other, not harm other individuals unnecessarily. Moreover, we should always be suspicious of self-serving believe systems that harm innocent individuals.

Which animals are “others” in the golden rule and deserve moral consideration? In other words, where do we draw the line? Certainly, vertebrates have the neural structures essential to feel pain, and they demonstrate the capacity for pain behaviorally. As Joan Dunayer has shown, many invertebrates, including insects, show evidence that they can think and feel pain. At the least, we should give all animals the benefit of the doubt and do our best to avoid harming them.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Why do we try to convince ourselves that we can’t do something, or that something is impossible? http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s5aug90.html .

Your question and comments are welcome

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