Weekly Newsletter - April 14, 2016
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Activist Feedback
  2. On Humanism
  3. The April Issue of “The Peaceable Table” Is Now Online

1. Activist Feedback

This weekend Victoria and I leafleted at a Newsboys concert in Cleveland, distributing 600 Joyful, Compassionate Eating booklets. It was Victoria’s first time, and she did a great job. She greeted people enthusiastically and commenting warmly on their clothing or she commiserated with them on the cold weather. Our reception rate was very high. - Steve

To learn about outreach opportunities in your area contact Lorena at lorenavalenziveg@gmail.com.

2. On Humanism

Though people of faith and secularists often find themselves in conflict, historically secular and religious thought have influenced each other. A core tenet of secular humanism – that all people have intrinsic value – seems to accord with the Bible’s description of Jesus’ teachings. I do not think this is a coincidence. Humanistic elements of the widely influential Judeo-Christian tradition laid the groundwork for the development of secular humanism.

Admirably, secular humanism affirms the dignity and value of all people. However, it fails as a comprehensive, cohesive ethic to the degree that it ignores the needs and rights of nonhumans. Indeed, most secular humanists vigorously champion the rights of members of ethnic, LGBT, and other vulnerable human minorities, yet the vast majority continues to endorse and even sponsor the extreme abuse and murder of nonhuman beings.

How can this be? I suspect that an underlying, infrequently articulated assumption of humanism is that humans are exceptional creatures. Most humanists believe in evolutionary theory, which sees Homo sapiens as simply one species among many. Yet, in what appears to be a contradictory stance, humanists generally regard humans as much more valuable, perhaps infinitely more valuable, than other creatures. While humanists tend to reject white supremacy, male supremacy, and the like, they cling to the convenient and self-serving tenet of human supremacy, which permits massive abuse of nonhumans for food, skins, entertainment, research, and other supposed human benefits.

In addition to supporting crimes of great magnitude against by nonhumans, this view is problematic for humanists themselves. Humanists defend human rights on the grounds that people the world over are very similar, so there are no legitimate grounds for excluding humans from equal moral consideration. While they employ science to make this claim, science also shows that humans and many kinds of nonhumans are fundamentally very similar. If humanists lift up science only when it suits their particular concerns and ignore science when it yields inconvenient truths, they undermine the moral and intellectual grounds upon which humanism is based.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. The April Issue of “The Peaceable Table” Is Now Online

Contents include:

  • We feature the work of the German NGO Animals' Angels, a small group of devoted activists who follow transport trucks carrying animals to the slaughterhells and also lobby on their behalf in various ways.
  • The Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom shows a duckling cuddling an owlet, not a pair one would ordinarily think of as "birds of a feather."
  • The Editor's Corner Guest Essay, "God's Rainbow Messengers" by Christa Blanke, reflects on the God's everlasting covenant with both animals and people symbolized by the rainbow, promising utterly reliable divine love and care. God delegates us as his messengers to convey this promise and put this love into action.
  • Try this month's Recipe for an interesting sweet-potato dish with garlic and lemon (among other things), unlike any you've had before.
  • Catherine Albanese, a professor emerita of religious studies, comments in a Letter about her experiences with the Unity denomination founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, pioneers in our March issue.
  • Let My People Go by Christa Blanke, a book of reflections on certain biblical passages and what they hold for animals and activists, is described in this month's Review.

To access this issue, see www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue123.html. To discuss any of its material with other readers, go to www.vegetarianfriends.net/forum.

Toward the Peaceable Kingdom,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

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

God Forgives Truly Repentant People

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