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Update Newsletters
11 May 2011 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Essay: Avoiding the Attractions of Scapegoating

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

1. Activist Feedback

Amanda writes: I wanted to tell you about the success I had at the Acquire the Fire event in Portland, Oregon. I signed up to volunteer as an usher so I was actually inside the event. I think that people were more receptive to taking the pamphlet since I was inside the venue. I handed out all but 30 of the box [about 270 booklets]. I was eventually asked to stop handing them out.

David writes: My wife and I arrived at the Little Rock, AR Newsboy Winter Jam Tour Spectacular 1 ¾ hours early, and we had passed out a lot of booklets to people in lines at the doors. However 1 ¼ before the event the doors shut and the announcement was made that all seats were sold! We were able to hand out more to those milling around in disappointment and late arrivals for another 1/2 hour. We handed out approximately 300 booklets in total.

Upcoming Outreach Opportunities

5/17 ID Idaho Falls Disciple Rock The Born Again Experience

5/18 MT Billings Disciple Rock The Born Again Experience

5/19 WY Casper Disciple Rock The Born Again Experience

5/20 NJ Ocean Grove Mathew West Christian Concert

5/20 MI Burton Addison Road Christian Rock Concert

5/21 IN Fort Wayne Addison Road Christian Rock Concert

5/21 SC Myrtle Beach Andrew Palau Beachfest

5/21 CA Buena Park Knottsberry Farm Gospel Festival

5/22 CA Lake Balboa TABLE WorldFest Green Festival!

6/3 FL Jacksonville Francesca Battistelli Christian Concert

6/3 MA Boston Joel Olsteen: A Night of Hope Conference

6/4 TN East Ridge J-Fest Music Festival

6/11 IN Fort Wayne Francesca Battestelli Christian Concert

6/11 CA Redding Illumination Festival

6/12 SC Myrtle Beach Stellar Kart Christian Rock Concert

6/15-18 KY Wilmore Icthus Music Festival

6/17-19 WI Milwaukee Polish Fest

6/19 VA Richmond TABLE Richmond Vegetarian Festival

6/23-25 MI Iona Big Ticket Festival Christian Rock Fest

7/5-8 OH Cincinnati TABLE Church Turning the World Upside

7/15 NC Raleigh Joel Olsteen: A Night of Hope Conference

7/21-24 WI Milwaukee Festa Italiana

7/28-31 WI Milwaukee GermanFest

8/4-14 WI West Allis Wisconsin State Fair

8/6 IL Chicago Joel Olsteen: A Night of Hope Conference

9/17-18 MO Kirkwood TABLE 2011 Kirkwood Greentree Festival

International Events:

5/28-29 CANADA AB Edmonton Manifest Christian Rock Concert

6/4 CANADA ON Oakville Manifest Christian Rock Concert

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. Essay: Avoiding the Attractions of Scapegoating

I am taking a break from my series exploring Christianity and animal rights to reflect on the recent assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Like many Americans, I find myself relieved by his killing, since he has been dedicated to killing people. However, I have been troubled by the evident glee expressed by many people.

As discussed previously, scapegoating involves heaping excess guilt onto other individual(s), often in an effort to deflect guilt from those participating in scapegoating onto the victim(s). Victims of scapegoating often aren’t completely innocent, but they aren’t as guilty as scapegoaters believe them to be. We all sin, and we all have thoughts about which we are ashamed, which make us all susceptible to the temptation to participate in scapegoating. How can we discern necessary and just violence from violence that has its roots in scapegoating?

One way is to seek the counsel of others, since they can be more objective. However, since the anger and hatred that characterizes scapegoating is mimetic, family and friends are often caught up in the same sentiments. Introspection through meditation or prayer can help guide us to truth. If we feel good about the consequences of our violence, there is an excellent chance that scapegoating has played a role in our sentiments. If we have honestly sought nonviolent solutions and, finding no alternative, genuinely regret the harm to one of God’s living creations, then there is good reason to believe that we have avoided scapegoating’s allure.

Another “red flag” for scapegoating is when the victims of violence are dehumanized. Their personhood – their hopes, fears, desires, and personalities – are denied. People define them as “dangerous” or “evil” and deny their feelings. Further, dehumanization helps avoid thinking about what might have motivated people to do harmful things. For example, Bin Laden was undoubtedly responsible for terrible acts of violence, but seeing him as “evil” helps avoid thinking about how American policies and actions might have contributed to his radicalization and the radicalization that prompted “suicide” terrorists to kill Americans.

Often, dehumanization involves identifying the victims with nonhuman animals. This reflects how many people deny the fact, evident on even casual observation, that every creature is a person in his or her own ways. Each animal has a distinct personality and each has genuine individual desires. Though the specific dehumanizing terms vary, universally those who perpetrate acts of violence deny personhood to their victims.

I think we can strongly suspect that an element of scapegoating has contributed to animal exploitation and abuse when people seem to derive pleasure from their participation in harming animals. I rarely see a hint of regret among those who financially support factory farming, for example, even though modern animal agriculture inherently involves extreme violence and cruelty. Our accounts of Jesus do not, I think, show evidence of hatred or of deriving pleasure from the suffering of others. They occasionally show anger, and he does denounce hypocrites whose self-serving ideologies and practices harm vulnerable individuals. Would Jesus approve of killing Bin Laden? Perhaps. Would he celebrate it? I doubt it.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

[As always, comments are welcomed.]

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

My Heart Exults in the Lord
http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s8may88.html .

Your question and comments are welcome

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