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Update Newsletters
19 August 2009 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Why Christians Must Not Countenance Animal Mistreatment

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

1. Activist Feedback

Betsy, Ken, their children (all healthy and vegan from birth), Barbara, and George tabled at The Fest in Cleveland. Betsy writes:

The Fest was pretty busy. We had a good time talking to a lot of people there. About 30 people signed up to be on the email newsletter list, and one guy seemed pretty excited about volunteering in the future. He grew up on a dairy farm and now he is a vegan ... reminds me of Harold Brown!

Overall, there was a great response. One Ursuline college woman came up to us and said she saw the CVA last year at the Earth Day event, and the CVA pamphlet she received convinced her to go vegetarian. So, she has been veg for a year now!! She was so excited to come up and tell us this. We had at least 50 people come up to the table and say they were already vegan or vegetarian! We also got to talk to a lot of people who were considering becoming veg.

2. Why Christians Must Not Countenance Animal Mistreatment

Many Christians regard themselves as compassionate and faithful servants of God. However, Christianity in general has not only countenanced, but has actually encouraged, the abuse and murder of countless animals. Nearly all churches purchase and consume the products of animal agriculture, which is tantamount to sponsoring unnecessary cruelty to animals. Meanwhile, churches rarely protest grotesque cruelty to animals, such as those associated with the fur trade. As a consequence, in addition to their contribution to animal abuse, our churches’ explicit or implicit endorsement of savagery, cruelty, and gross injustice fundamentally undermines Jesus’ teachings.

Perhaps previous generations could have been partly excused on the grounds that they did not know much about animals’ capacities to feel pain and suffer, and the conditions of animal exploitation were generally less abusive then than they are today. Modern physiology and ethology have provided important insights into animals’ mental experiences. A range of disciplines have revealed both the degree to which animals suffer on factory farms as well as the degree to which animal agriculture contributes to environmental degradation, world hunger, and human disease.

As individuals, we often “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and sometimes our desires overpower our will to do the right thing. When this happens, it is tragic for the victims, However, we can recognize our sin and strive to change our ways. What is devastating to Christianity is that our churches broadly endorse the abuse and torture that is inherent in modern, industrialized animal agriculture. When this happens, Christianity’s message becomes, “Be loving and compassion, and strive, as Jesus counseled, to “sin no more ” . . . except when it’s inconvenient and the victims have no recourse.” Theologically, if God really endorsed selfishness, cruelty, and victimization, one might reasonably question God’s goodness.

Christian authorities often stress that our duties are to humans, not animals, and they provide a range of shallow excuses for ignoring animal issues. Next week, we will explore why such excuses don’t suffice.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

What Causes a Nation, Who Knows God, to Become Greedy, Selfish, and Rebellious?
http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s19aug90.html .

Your question and comments are welcome

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