Weekly Newsletter from Christian Vegetarian Association CVA - September 6, 2017
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

1. The September Issue of “The Peaceable Table” Is Online
2. Original Sin, part 7
3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. The September Issue of “The Peaceable Table” Is Online

Contents include:

  • The Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom is a photo of a kitten with a protective paw around a duckling, who snuggles against him or her.
  • "On Wounding and Healing Among Activists," Part I, is the Editor's Corner Essay for this month.Activists, especially those who frequently witness violence against animals directly or indirectly, may suffer from Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder, which closely resembles the better-known Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • In the Unset Gem, Yonassan Gersom, vegetarian rabbi who is also the subject of the "Pilgrimage" column, points up the incompatibility between talking about the Exodus out of Egypt to freedom while eating a chicken who has always been imprisoned.
  • The work of Hasidic rabbi Yonassan Gershom for compassion and peace is sketched in the September Pilgrimage column.
  • Since being veganized and further altered, "Kay's Vegetable Casserole," which was always tasty, has been getting better and better. The texture is equally special. See the Recipe column.

Peace and healing to all--
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

2. Original Sin, part 7

Last week, I discussed how conflicts over scarce resources divide communities, and scapegoating unites communities. Universally, religions offer stories, rituals, and taboos that help keep communities together. René Girard argued that the scapegoating process underlies all myths, rituals, and taboos, and scapegoating recurs when existing religious beliefs and practices do not seem sufficient to manage crises.

Since so much scapegoating violence has been done by religious authorities, such as the persecution of “witches” during the Middle Ages, secularists have asserted that violence could be avoided if the populace were better educated. Knowledge, understanding, and respectful communication could resolve any conflicts that might arise. Meanwhile, enlightened individuals would come to see natural disasters, epidemics, and other crises as unfortunate events, not the work of angry gods or evil people casting spells. Disasters might inspire the development of ways to mitigate harm, and they would not prompt violence and scapegoating.

The Enlightenment fostered optimism, because many people were convinced that knowledge could lead to widespread peace and well-being. This hopeful view was largely obliterated by the two world wars. Indeed, even though Germany was perhaps the most educated of all nations in the first half of the 20th century, its Nazi regime was responsible for some of the greatest crimes of history. Why has the Enlightenment failed to deliver on its promise of peace? I think the answer largely relates to the original, perennial human sin of scapegoating, which I will continue to explore next week.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Blind Eyes, Deaf Ears

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