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3 February 2010 Issue

1. Reflection: Why Do I Focus on Scapegoating?
2. This Week’s Sermon by Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
3. The January 2010 Issue of Peaceable Table

1. Reflection: Why Do I Focus on Scapegoating?

Some have asked why I talk about scapegoating so much. Before I answer, I’d like to review what I mean by scapegoating. It is the transfer of guilt, which nearly all people do in part to see themselves as “good” and worthy of mercy from God (or whatever they call the divine). Not only is such transfer of guilt unjust in itself, it leads to further injustices, because punishment of the victims of scapegoating “confirms” their guilt.

Scapegoating brings communities together – the collective accusation generates a sense of camaraderie by making a group of people feel better about themselves at the expense of one or more victims. Indeed, cynical leaders have long known that hatred of an outside “enemy” can deflect criticism of their own rule. We can see scapegoating at many levels of society. “Popular” kids at school are generally the ones who chose and torment scapegoat victims, and many families have a “black sheep” who the rest of the family regards with contempt. As humanism has made it harder to scapegoating minorities, people with disabilities, women, and other vulnerable people, animals have increasingly become targets of scapegoating.

I think Christianity offers us ways to build community without the injustice of scapegoating. If we believe that our sins are forgivable and that God loves us despite our flaws, we might no longer feel compelled to blame other individuals for our own shortcomings and transgressions. This, I think, is a central component of the “faith of Christ” that, if we share, can inspire us to become healers of a broken and violent world.

Next week, I will discuss how animals have become scapegoat victims, which is one reason that animal liberation is essential to human liberation.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Speaking and Teaching with Authority

3. The January 2010 Issue of Peaceable Table Is Now Online

Contents include:

* The Editorial, entitled "The Sky Is Falling," deals with the experience of internal collapse of meaning which may threaten those who hear the message that our culture's treatment of farmed animals is an evil thing. It also suggests that a larger and enduring sky may be found beyond the fallen "sacred canopy."

* One of the Unset Gems, from Martin Luther King Jr., tells us that peace is not only the goal but the way.

* We Glimpse the Peaceable Kingdom in photographs showing natural enemies making friends in Arctic weather.

* That's Why We Don't Eat Animals, a picture book for the children of vegetarians, is reviewed in our January Children's Book Review.

* In "My Pilgrimage," Canadian Ann-Marie Joiner tells how her efforts to go completely veg got the push they needed from a tiny kitten named Elmo.

* The Poetry section features "Beatitudes for a New Era" by Sr. Faith Bowman, and "Dust of Snow" by Robert Frost.

We hope more of our readers will take a moment to write their responses to any of the features in this issue. If you have had thoughts of contributing your own Pilgrimage story but lack time, please write and let us know, and something can surely be arranged.

To read this issue, see http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue61.html

Let there be Peace on earth, and let it begin with us--

Gracia Fay Ellwood
Editor .

Your question and comments are welcome

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