Weekly Newsletter - November 2, 2016
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Facing the Truth, part 3: Projection
  2. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
  3. Laudato Si’ Retreat

1. Facing the Truth, part 3: Projection

Sigmund Freud identified projection as a common and potent defense mechanism. In order to maintain self-esteem, humans often project those attributes they despise in themselves onto other individuals. For example, people often deny ownership of attributes that would give them a sense of shame or vulnerability. People routinely project these undesired attributes onto other individuals and then despising those individuals. Those doing the projecting gain a sense that other individuals have these traits, not themselves, and projectors’ contempt for those other individuals constitutes “proof” that the projectors lack the undesired traits. For example, some of the most vocal opponents of homosexuality have turned out to be homosexuals themselves.

People have projected negative attributes onto animals. This has been easy, because animals cannot defend themselves against unfair stereotypes. Further, attributing contemptible attributes to nonhumans helps justify abusing them.

When it comes to violence, it is noteworthy that criminals are often accused of “acting like animals.” While it is true that many animals fight, humans are distinctive in carrying grudges and acting out of vengeance. In contrast, nonhumans seek immediate rewards such as food or sex, and they rarely kill members of their own species. In general, when a rival animal relents, the fight ceases. So, the notion that unrestrained human violence reflects “animal behavior” mischaracterizes human violence and does a disservice to nonhumans.

Similarly, unapproved human sexuality is often equated with animal behavior, even though sexuality is generally far more orderly and less socially disruptive among nonhumans than among humans.

Can projection contributing to scapegoating? I will explore this next week.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Righteousness Mostly Missing

3. Laudato Si’ Retreat

St. Francis Alliance: Faithful Voices for Animals (SFA) is a group of Catholics and other people of good will committed to seeking a just and compassionate world for all creatures. Inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical on integral ecology, Laudato Si’, we aim to foster dialogue, to educate, and to act faithfully in our daily choices to promote the inherent value ofanimals, who share our common home.

SFA is excited to announce our inaugural retreat featuring guest facilitators/discussion leaders, individual prayer time, daily mass, and sacrament of reconciliation for those who desire it. Join us President’s Day Weekend, February 17–19, 2017 in White Post, Virginia as we reflect on Laudato Si' and what it means for animals as we prepare for Lent. While this retreat is Roman Catholic, it is open to all people of faith who desire to respectfully engage with others about caring for God’s creatures.

Visit their Facebook page...

The deadline to register is in December.

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