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CVA Weekly Newsletter
March 21, 2012

  1. Activist Feedback
  2. Clarification on Last Week’s Essay
  3. Thoughts on The Better Angels of Our Nature, Part 2
  4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback
Brian, who leafleted with Mike, Leslie, and Lori at a recent Women of Faith event in San Jose, CA, writes:
Since I leaflet colleges so frequently, sometimes it’s hard to gauge the receptiveness of students and how things are changing over time. It’s just like when you lose or gain weight… you look the same each day but gradually over time you change. Today was an opportunity to see change.  

I distinctly remember leafleting Women of Faith over 2 years ago (maybe it was even 3 years ago?).  Some were receptive, others were indifferent, some were downright cold. Today was so drastically different. Many women thanked us for being there. The acceptance rate was fantastic and we saw many hanging around the front reading the brochures. Very few came back to return the brochures, once they realized we weren’t officially part of the conference. I overheard quite a few comments like, “Oh yes, this is important” or, “We were talking about this the other day” etc. More than anything though, the FEELING I got about the event… just the general vibe about our presence was incredibly more positive than 2 (or 3?) years ago. 
An excellent use of a time for sure. So glad to have such great volunteers helping me out today too.  I am a lucky leafleter!
Upcoming Outreach Opportunities
3/29      MI Ypsilanti       Winter Jam Christian Rock Fest
3/30      IN Indianapolis         Winter Jam Christian Rock Fest
3/30-31   MO Cape Girardeau Extraordinary Women Conference
3/30-31   TX Dallas               Acquire the Fire Youth Conference
3/30-31   WA Everett              Acquire the Fire Youth Conference
3/31      AZ Phoenix              TODD AGNEW Faith and Family Outreach Night with Phoenix Coyotes
3/31      IL Champaign       Winter Jam Christian Rock Fest
3/31      TX Austin               Women of Faith Dream on For Teen Girls
3/31      KS Wichita              Women of Faith One Day
3/31      MD Baltimore       Women of Faith One Day
3/31      TX Austin               TABLE Texas Veg Fest
4/1       MI Grand Rapids         Winter Jam Christian Rock Fest
4/12-14   CA San Diego       Joyce Meyers Conference 2012
4/13-14   CA Sacramento      Acquire the Fire Youth Conference
4/13-14   NJ Rutherford      Acquire the Fire Youth Conference
4/14      OH Cincinnati      Women of Faith "One Day" Conference
4/14      CO Loveland        Women of Faith "One Day" Conference
4/20-21   FL Tampa           Acquire the Fire Youth Conference
4/22      CA San Diego       TABLE EarthWorks' EarthFair 2012
4/22      MO St. Louis       TABLE Earth Day Festival
4/26-28   KY Louisville      Joyce Meyers Conference 2012
4/28-29   CT Hartford             TABLE Connecticut Vegetarian & Healthy Living Festival
5/20      CA Van Nuys        TABLE WorldFest 2012
6/23      VA Richmond             TABLE Richmond Vegetarian Festival

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com if you can 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. Clarification on Last Week’s Essay
One reader noted that my comment that no major power has gone to war since the Second World War was not accurate. Indeed, the United States (among others) has fought several wars. What I meant to say is that no two major powers have gone to war with each other.

3. Thoughts on The Better Angels of Our Nature, Part 2 [See March 14, 2012 Newsletter]
In his recent book The Better Angels of Our Nature, Stephen Pinker notes that there has been a growth of respect for the rights of individuals who historically have suffered grievous oppression and victimization, including women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and animals. Animal advocates might dispute the last category, since the number of animals abused, and the severity of their abuse, is unequalled in human history.
In my view, Pinker is partly correct in his assessment. There has been an increase in concern for animal well-being, manifested by animal protection laws, public outrage when animal abuse comes to light, and the growth of the animal protection movement. Why has animal abuse nevertheless increased dramatically?
Industrialized agriculture has made the growth of factory farms possible. The cost of feeding animals has dropped substantially, mechanized feeding and waste removal systems have reduced labor costs, and antibiotics have made it much easier to crowd animals intensively. Meanwhile, greater societal wealth has permitted larger investments in activities that involve animal abuse, including vivisection, wearing animal skins, and animals in entertainment.
Many activities that involve animal exploitation would not necessarily result in great abuse, but people generally choose less inexpensive products of all kinds, particularly when consumers are far removed from and largely blind to the sources of those products. This blindness is partly a choice – for example people who want to eat flesh and other animal products don’t want to know whether the source of those products involves unethical practices. Similarly, consumers generally don’t want to know whether their clothing and other products came from sweat shops. Nonhumans are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse because nearly everyone believes they benefit from animal exploitation, and because nonhumans are neither able to articulate their suffering nor able to fight their oppressors.
When animal advocates expose the abuses of factory farms, this discomforts those who want to consume flesh, dairy, and eggs. When animal advocates connect the dots and encourage a plant-based diet, this is generally an unwelcomed message. What is most disappointing to me is that our churches generally don’t take to heart Jesus’ words “the truth will set you free”, but instead they discourage or even oppose efforts to bring animal issues onto their “radar screens.” Presumably, church leaders fear that discomforted churchgoers will take their tithes elsewhere.
This brings us to a practical issue. Should we attend churches that refuse to address animal issues? I’ll reflect on that next week.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Why Should People Abstain From Flesh Foods?



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