On Being Outraged without Being Enraged
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from All-Creatures.org


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

On Being Outraged without Being Enraged

Many of us are – and should be – outraged by animal agribusiness. The abuse of animals is extreme, and the negative consequences for human health and well-being are substantial. It is difficult not to be enraged by the massive cruelty and the injustice. But there are several reasons to resist this natural response to outrage by being enraged.
First, being enraged makes us less fit to defend vulnerable individuals who need us. Ongoing rage is emotionally draining, and I am convinced that this is a leading cause of activist burnout. Second, people generally perceive enraged people as illogical, sentimental, judgmental, and, sometimes, threatening. While enraged people generally communicate their own sentiments quite well, people see the anger and close their hearts and minds to the message of compassion and justice.
Third, it seems to me that being enraged presumes judgment. Jesus was not enraged at those responsible for murdering him “because they know not what they do.” We really don’t know what motivates people to participate in or contribute to animal abuse. In all likelihood, decisions about what we eat involve many factors. Some of those who directly or indirectly sponsor animal abuse probably deserve condemnation, but not all. Since it’s difficult, or perhaps even impossible, to identify those who deserve condemnation, we are wise to give people the benefit of the doubt and presume that their motivations, overall, are not vile.
Next essay, I’ll reflect further on the challenge to make judgments without being judgmental. 

Go on to: On Making Judgments
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

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