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Update Newsletters
14 October 2009 Issue

1. Attention Ohio Residents: Vote No on Issue 2

2. Activist Feedback and Opportunities

3. Reflection on the Lectionary: God and the Suffering Servant

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


1. Attention Ohio Residents: Vote No on Issue 2

Don't allow special interests to hijack the Ohio State Constitution!

[Please forward to family, friends, and lists. Big agribusiness is massively outspending its opposition, but the Internet allows us to counter their falsehoods.]

According to ads for Issue 2, the proposed constitutional amendment would protect small farmers and ensure safe food. In truth, issue 2 would set up a “Livestock Care Standards Board” comprised of political appointees (i.e., people favorable to the interests of big agribusiness) that would have constitutional authority to override legislation and public referenda that conflict with the financial interests of big agribusiness.

Because it’s designed to favor large factory farms, not family farmers, Issue 2 is opposed by the Ohio Farmers Union, the Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance, League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio League of Humane Voters, and the Ohio Sierra Club. The editorial boards of Ohio’s major newspapers—including the Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal, and Dayton Daily News—all oppose this effort to enshrine the agribusiness lobby’s favored oversight system in the state’s constitution.

Modern factory farming includes intensive confinement that causes immense animal suffering, and many practices favored by big agribusiness in Ohio are illegal in the European Union. As Issue 2 proponents make clear at their web site, its purpose is to prevent ongoing efforts by animal advocates to reduce animal suffering on farms.

Even for those who don’t care much about farmed animal welfare, Issue 2 is still bad policy. Intensive animal confinement has promoted the spread of serious diseases, including swine flu, bird flu, mad cow disease, and lethal E. coli infection. Use of antibiotics in an effort to reduce spread of disease among these highly stressed animals has led to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that now pose great threats to humans. Massive quantities of animal waste generated by huge factory farms often pollute the surrounding air and water.

It’s bad for the farmed animals when the foxes guard the henhouses. Similarly, Ohio citizens shouldn’t want big agribusiness, with its focus on profits, deciding what animal husbandry standards best ensure food safety.


2. Activist Feedback and Opportunities

Jeff, who leafleted at the Women of Faith Conference in Phoenix, AZ on 10/2-1/03 with Bill and Jone writes:

The crowd was somewhat receptive to the brochure - most were unsure about what it was, though I did run into a few vegetarians and another woman who said she had a soft spot for animals. Another person said it was commendable what we were doing, and a few people told us, “God Bless You.” We distributed just over 2 boxes worth - 660 brochures in total!

Upcoming Activist Opportunities  

10/19 MI Grand Rapids Creation Festival: The Tour

10/22 TN Sevierville The Hoppers Gospel Concert (this is a BBQ!)

10/23 AL Cullman The Hoppers Gospel Concert

10/23 MO St. Charles Bread of Stone Christian Concert with Newsboys

10/23 NC Raleigh Jeremy Camp Christian Concert

10/24 MA Concord Harvard: Regional Energy Revolution Rally

10/24 MD Baltimore Jeremy Camp Christian Concert

10/24 MA Cambridge Benefit Concert for Climate Change

10/24 FL Orlando TABLE Central Florida Veg Fest

10/24 MO Steelville The Hoppers Gospel Concert

10/24-25 AZ Scottsdale St.Francis Festival 2009 & Blessing of the Animals

10/25 WV Charleston Jeremy Camp Christian Concert

10/29 CA San Bernardino Creation Festival: The Tour

10/30 TX Katy Jeremy Camp Christian Concert

10/31 MA Boston TABLE Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival 10/30-31 OK Oklahoma City Women of Faith Conference

10/31 AZ Phoenix Creation Festival: The Tour

11/6 IN Oakland City The Hoppers Gospel Concert

11/6- NC Greensboro Women of Faith Conference

11/7 FL Marianna The Hoppers Gospel Concert

11/7 MT Kalispell Creation Festival: The Tour

11/7-9 WI Milwaukee Call To Action 2008 National Conference

11/8 FL Deland The Hoppers Gospel Concert

11/8 MT Billings Creation Festival

11/1 MA Boston Clean Energy Council: Green Tie Gala

11/13-14 MN St Paul The Christian Community Fair

11/13-14 TX Houston Women of Faith Conference

11/19 MA Boston EcoLogic Benefit: The Taste of Sustainable Food

11/20-21 FL Ft. Lauderdale Women of Faith Conference   

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com  if you can to 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/  

3. Reflection on the Lectionary

Oct. 18 Isaiah 53:10-11

God and the Suffering Servant

This passage, which refers to the Suffering Servant, begins, “Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin.” Does God ordain the suffering of the Servant? If so, does this indicate that God sometimes supports scapegoating?

People have always found it tempting to force scapegoats to suffer the consequences of the people’s transgressions. The people have often gotten validation from religious authorities, including Christian authorities, who have claimed that God endorses mistreatment of minorities, women, homosexuals, animals, and other victims in ways that constitute scapegoating. However, I think the Bible describes Jesus as holding that God does not favor such victimization. Indeed, if I believed that God supports scapegoating, I might worship God out of fear of divine retribution, but I would not love God.

As I discuss at length in Guided by the Faith of Christ, a central component of Jesus’ ministry was to help people find ways to transcend the human inclination to participate in scapegoating. The above passage from Isaiah relates that the Suffering Servant “makes himself an offering for sin.” Earlier, Isaiah had described the Servant as sinless, and I think the Servant, by allowing himself to be blamed for the iniquities (Isa 53:11) of the community, demonstrates that he is a victim of scapegoating. If the Servant had some degree of guilt, the community could have convinced itself that the Servant deserved the punishment. One reason scapegoating is frequently difficult to recognize is that the victim is often guilty to a degree, but not as guilty as scapegoaters believe. By being sinless, the Servant clearly did not deserve to be punished.

If the Servant had tried to use violence to defend himself, the community would have become convinced that his violence was a manifestation of his guilt. If the Servant somehow diverted attention to someone else, for example claiming that another person was “possessed by the devil,” the Servant might have been spared, but the ideology of scapegoating would have been preserved.

I do not think God wanted the Servant to suffer. Instead, God offered the Servant an opportunity to help save the community from its proclivity to engage in the sin of scapegoating. By exposing their scapegoating as unjust, the Servant would undermine scapegoating itself.

In future commentaries, I will suggest that, similarly, God did not want Jesus to suffer and die. However, Jesus’ destiny, which he chose to accept, was to allow himself to be a victim of scapegoating. In doing so, Jesus revealed the community’s scapegoating.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.


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

Come to the Wedding Feast of My Son
http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s14oct90.html .

Your question and comments are welcome

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