Guest Editorial: Scapegoating and Healing
by Stephen Kaufman
. . . .Ironically, many Christian communities have yielded to the temptation to use scapegoating as the glue that holds them together. With the rise of humanism, it has become increasingly difficult to scapegoat people, but churches continue to scapegoat animals. Many churches have emphasized humankind's importance, not by pointing out that we are part of a grand Creation that God loves, but by contrasting humans with animals. I think this is one reason that, in general, the churches have not been animal-friendly. Christian Vegetarian Association members have found that churches generally resist Christian education programs that aim to expose the massive suffering of billions of animals annually on factory farms; many churches celebrate killing animals with social events like "pig-roasts"; and some churches even sponsor "Christian hunting clubs." . . .
. . . We are called to express love and forgiveness. This alone can help heal many wounds, including the deep wounds that arise from being treated as "unworthy" by people who gain their own sense of self-esteem over and against other people. Often, the most deeply wounded are those who have been victims of scapegoating. Many have rejected God, either because they have internalized their status as scapegoats and believe they are unworthy of God's love, or because they do not believe that a loving God would fail to protect them.
Specifically, what can we do to help heal? We can listen, which shows that we care. We can also respectfully offer what help we can. Further, we can help heal with respectful, appropriate touch, such as when Simon Wiesenthal let a dying, confessing Nazi hold his (Wiesenthal's) hand. The greatest healing, which is not always possible, is to help people understand that they matter to God. While only God can fully heal the soul, we are called to help, and our life experiences provide valuable tools. To varying degrees (some much more than others), we have all been wounded by life. We have all experienced loss, and we have all experienced the crushing feelings associated with humiliation. Also, we know what it feels like to be wounded (intentionally or unintentionally) by family, friends, strangers, and life itself, and we have tried to develop coping strategies to make the most of our lives. These experiences help us empathize with other wounded people, even if their pain is far deeper than what we have experienced. Our empathy makes it possible for us to connect with wounded people intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, which in turn helps us heal other wounded individuals holistically.
How can we help heal those who cannot speak, such as people who cannot express their feelings or voiceless animals? Sometimes, we can help heal through mere presence or touch. Sometimes, we can help heal from afar, by mobilizing efforts to change the conditions that wound them. Also many people believe that prayer can help heal, by directing God's healing energy towards them.
Stephen Kaufman is president of the Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA). This material is excerpted from his book-in-progress, Christianity and the Problem of Violence, to be published in March 2007. The book is based on a series of essays that have been appearing in the newsletter of the CVA. (www.ChristianVeg.com)
Chinese President Stops Killing of Dogs
In response to protests from thousands of animal lovers both East and West, the president of China has ordered that the mass killing of dogs in response to a rabies scare be stopped. For further information, see
Quaker Concern for Animals
The Meatrix II 1/2
The Meatrix II ½: Sustainable Table (www.SustainableTable.org) and Free Range Graphics (www.freerangestudios.com) have released another sequel of The Meatrix. In the form of a cartoon, it exposes the reality behind factory farming in an entertaining yet graphic way. This version focuses on the high risk of contamination with E. Coli since manure can easily come in contact with meat at modern processing plants; and on the risks of injury that workers are exposed to. Please share it with friends and family. You can view it at www.moremeatrix.com.
The Humane Society Goes Political
The Humane Society Legislative Fund, a new political arm of the Humane Society of the United States, actively works for the election or defeat of lawmakers based on issues key to the animal-welfare movement. Dave Warner, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, believes that "As big as they are, they are certainly a force to be reckoned with." The livestock industry is one of the ones targeted and is alarmed about the organization's growing financial and political force. To read the full article please visit desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ article?AID=/20061112/BUSINESS03/611120329/1001/NEWS
--Lorena Mucke, Take Heart newsletter,
Christian Vegetarian Association
“The earth mourns and withers, . . . the heavens languish together with the earth. The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.”
"Open thy mouth for the dumb, in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction."
-"The animals are waiting for us to move up so they can follow" . . . . This was the answer I had been unconsciously groping for ever since my first confrontation with Africa's wildlife. This surely was why the animals' long, slow stares took us in, unaware that they were waiting for us "move up" that ladder that Jacob saw in his dream, thronged with angels moving up and down, foretelling the immutable laws of evolution and involution."
--Katherine Hulme, Look a Lion in the Eye,
reflecting on a saying of G. I.Gurdjieff
The Two Wolves
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
Book Review: Walter: The Story of a Rat
Walter: The Story of a Rat. By Barbara Wersba. Illustrations by Donna Diamond. Asheville, N. C.: Front Street. 61 pages.$16.95 hardcover.
In this book for children we meet Walter, an elderly rat with an innate ability to read, and catholic tastes in literature. Long ago he had named himself after Sir Walter Scott, two of whose books happened to be among the first he ever read. He now lives under the roof of Miss Amanda Pomeroy, an elderly human being who writes books for children, and, of all the places he has ever inhabited, Walter likes her home best. She is untidy, which means many midnight snacks for him; like him she is graying, solitary, rather lonely; but best of all, she has a library with hundreds of books, all of which he intends to read.
Walter takes a benevolent view of the world; he is considerate and always returns Miss Pomeroy's books after borrowing them. He lives off Miss Pomeroy's bounty, but avoids leaving droppings when he visits her kitchen at night (unlike the illiterate rat who recently took up residence behind the refrigerator in the Ellwood kitchen, and who will, unhappily, have to be relocated.) He keeps himself and his nest clean and tidy. He enjoys looking at the roses in her neglected garden.
Considering his good will and good qualities, Walter is grieved that humans show so much hostility to rats; he has been the target of stonings, attempted poisonings, and attempted shootings, and once a young woman even fainted at the sight of him. Why do humans fear rats so much, he wonders, considering that they keep hamsters and guinea pigs and white mice as pets, feed squirrels in the park, and walk dogs on leashes? To Walter, all animals are equally important--a sensible viewpoint that to the readers of PT will need no further commentary.
In the course of the story, Walter, the kindly rat, tentatively reaches out to the shy and misanthropic Miss Pomeroy via letters, which he leaves on her old typewriter at night. Via this correspondence they slowly become acquainted, and something like a friendship forms. They exchange literary opinions and homemade Christmas gifts. Walter's positive outlook begins to influence Miss Pomeroy, who starts to tidy up her rooms and her garden. Eventually, and very touchingly, one mild winter afternoon Walter's dream of having a friend with whom to savor the beauty of the world is realized.
The book-loving child who receives Walter as a gift will not only have much enjoyment but will find, ten and twenty years later, that it has doubled and tripled in value, as more and more of the various authors, titles, and quotations Walter encounters become familiar. The sensitive drawings by Donna Diamond will also be increasingly appreciated, showing, as they do, a rat that is unrealistic and amusing as he pores over books by candlelight, yet is both realistically drawn and appealing. But the book's chief value is, of course, in enabling the reader to identify with a creature who, though a victim of prejudice and abuse, continues to affirm the world; never gives up his thirst for literary adventure; and makes the world a better place for someone else. "I do my best. It is all a person--or a rat--can do."
--Gracia Fay Ellwood
Film Review: Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web. A film by Paramount based on the book by E. B. White. Starring Dakota Fanning (age 12) as Fern, Dominic Scott Kay (age 10) as the voice of Wilbur, Julia Roberts as the voice of Charlotte, Steve Busceme as the voice of Templeton the Rat, Oprah Winfrey as the voice of Gussy the Goose, and Robert Redford as the voice of Ike the Horse. Directed by Gary Winick.
Wilbur is the eleventh, and smallest, piglet of his mother's litter--and she has only ten teats. When pigs are living in a natural state, a runt can be a serious threat to the whole family; muscled away from the meal by stronger siblings, his or her cries of hunger can attract a predator. In other words, a runt can make trouble.
Potential predators, however, are not the problem in the opening scene of E. B. White's classic book Charlotte's Web, where Farmer Arable picks up an axe early in the morning and heads out to the pigsty: that a runt "makes trouble" simply means that he doesn't want to be bothered with having to hand-feed this pathetic afterthought of a piglet. The movie opens with lights on in the barn: he is already there.
His daughter Fern, as many viewers will already know, rushes out and interposes. In the 1973 animated film, she pleads tearfully for the life of the little runt. The new Fern, ably portrayed by Ms. Dakota Fanning, does not plead: she stands firm as a mountain and makes a non-negotiable Demand. When her father orders her to return to the house (in other words--hide from the violence you know is happening)--she refuses. She makes a most compelling argument: "If I'd been born little, would you have killed me?" Fern's father protests that killing a human baby would be a different matter. "No, it wouldn't," Fern (correctly) insists. "There's no difference. It's unjust."
In other words, as some contemporary philosophers agree, whatever differences there may be between pigs and human beings, they are not of the sort that justify excluding pigs from moral consideration. Or, as we read in the Bible, there is no pre-eminence of a Man above a Beast (quoted before in these pages, but worth quoting again). If decapitated with an axe, both will suffer acutely, bleed, and die, regardless of number of legs or gray cells. Both will have been wronged, and those of whatever kind who love the victim will grieve.
Farmer Arable capitulates, and gives her responsibility for the piglet. At breakfast he wryly comments that Fern was "up before dawn to fight injustice." Indeed she was, very early in a cold, rainy pre-dawn to defy adult wisdom and do the decent thing, setting a very good example for all of us of whatever age. We may hope that her strong action has saved and will continue to save the lives of many real-life pigs.
Following the book fairly closely, the story continues along its familiar and beloved lines, with the friendship between Wilbur and Fern, the self-seeking antics of Templeton the cynical rat, and the altruism of Charlotte the literate spider, who is determined to save Wilbur's life a second time from the violence symbolized by the sinister, blackened smokehouse. That Wilbur looks and sounds very much like the much-beloved Babe of a decade ago does the movie no harm at all. There are two characters not seen before, a pair of dim-witted crows who cast murderous eyes on Templeton. We see a little more of Henry Fussy, the shy, bright-eyed boy with a talent for photography, who casts friendly eyes on Fern, and takes Ferris wheel rides with her at the county fair. Fern clearly likes Henry, but does not, as in the book, then begin to lose interest in Wilbur.
Two (human) superstars, Oprah Winfrey and Robert Redford, play relatively minor comic characters in the film--obviously not for money or glory, but because they love the story.
We can rejoice that this justly cherished tale is before our eyes again, rendered with humor and poignancy, urging us to see farmed animals as fellow-beings with their own points of view. It encourages the Ferns and the Charlottes among us to refuse to accept powerlessness, and instead stand up for Justice.
Apocalypto. Produced and written by Mel Gibson et. al.
This is a movie I simply cannot recommend. As one might expect from Mel Gibson, it is extremely violent. It gives a very distorted and inaccurate portrayal of Mayan culture. It is also a blatant rip-off of Lord of the Flies, with Jaguar Paw as Ralph and the Conquistadors as the British Navy. However, one can hope that some viewers will be so repulsed by the hunting and butchering scenes that they will swear off killing (vicariously or literally) and eating animals.
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Written by Eric Schlosser and directed by Richard Linklater
This movie focuses on a fictional chain called Mickey's and describes not only the way it functions, but also the way farm animals are treated in today’s modern killing plants. It includes scenes filmed in a Mexican slaughterplant showing with graphic detail every step from the stunning of the animal until her or his flesh is processed for food. Rebecca Weiss, writer for the Cornell Daily Sun, says, “There are a few scenes of unrelenting carnage, more mercilessly graphic than anything you’ll have ever seen in the theatres. Worse, there’s no way to console yourself afterwards — everything you’ve seen is 100% real and all true to life” … ““The amount of times that innards and giblets are depicted onscreen may convert the most staunch carnivore into a cow-hugging tofu-championing vegetarian, nay, vegan.” Exploitation of fast-food chain employees and threats to the health of the consumers are also presented. To read Weiss's full article please visit www.cornellsun.com/node/20056.
Lenticchie di Capodanno (New Year’s Lentils)
Serves 4 - 6
½ pound French green lentils
½ tsp. ground dried rosemary or 2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups vegetable broth, plus extra if needed
½ tsp. sea salt, or to taste
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 T. tomato paste
Place lentils in a medium size saucepan and cover with cool water, then add rosemary together with 1 clove of garlic. Bring to a gentle boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, discarding the cooked garlic clove. Set lentils aside.
Chop the remaining garlic clove. Heat the olive oil in the same pot; add the onion and cook until translucent. Then add the remaining garlic clove; cook about 1 minute over low heat. Do not allow garlic to brown. Add the lentils, broth, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and tomato paste. Stir well.
Cook until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes, adding a little more broth if needed. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot.
Lentils are associated with good luck and prosperity in Italian New Year’s Day celebrations. Because of their round shape, reminiscent of coins, eating lentils on New Year’s Day is supposed to ensure riches for the coming year.
Wealth and success do not have their roots in money; the richness of our lives comes chiefly from the good that we do and the compassion that we show to all things living. Buon Capodanno!
Insalata di Arancia e Limone (Citrus Salad)
4 medium organic oranges
2 medium very ripe organic lemons
1 small red onion, sliced thin
6 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 T. extra virgin olive oil, or as desired
Using a serrated knife, peel oranges and lemons, totally remove the pith. Catch and reserve any juice when peeling.
Slice oranges about ¼ inch thick. Slice lemons about 1/8 inch thick. Spread the sliced orange out on a platter with low sides and then arrange the sliced lemons on them in a neat pattern. Pour on any reserved juice from the peeling and slicing. Put the sliced red onion all over the fruit and then scatter the chopped mint over. Grind on fresh black pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Let platter sit, covered, for about 2 hours at room temperature. Serve at room temperature.
This is a delicious salad that is wonderful whenever fresh citrus is readily available. We especially enjoy it during winter holidays. Enjoy!
Makes about 1 ½ quarts
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ tsp. sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10 cups spring water
In large stock pot, warm olive oil and add onion, carrots, celery and fennel seeds. Cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add parsley, salt and black pepper and water. Bring to boil; then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Strain. Reserve vegetables so that they may processed and used in another recipe.
This is a broth I like to make when I want a simple peasant French flavor. I never discard the vegetables used to make a broth. I usually process and add them to another recipe. Sometimes, more often than not, my husband adds a little extra virgin olive oil and Vegan parmesan and eats them as a snack with a crusty bread. So simple and delicious.
Basic Dark Vegetable Broth
makes about 1 ½ quarts
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 cup fresh chopped parsley leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves, or 1 sprig fresh thyme
½ tsp. dried rosemary powder, or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tsp. dried rubbed sage, or 1 large sprig fresh sage
½ tsp. paprika
8 whole peppercorns
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. tamari
sea salt, to taste
2 quarts spring water
Sauté onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil for until onion is translucent. Add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Taste for salt, add if needed. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Cool to room temperature and store in refrigerator or freezer.
This produces a dark and rich broth that is excellent for hearty soups and stews.
-- Angela Suarez
I have always loved animals. When I was a child, I planned to become a veterinarian . . . . It turned out there was a very direct and easy way I could help animals that didn't have anything to do with choosing a lifelong career--becoming a vegetarian.
It all came to a head when I was in my second year of college. I was writing a speech for a public speaking class about predator "control." At that time, I was very much enchanted by the beauty and magnificence of wolves, so I decided to give a speech about our government's programs to eradicate the wolf. Amazingly, I didn't realize until doing research for this speech that the main reason predators are eliminated is because of ranching interests.
Cattle ranchers want to be able to run their cows freely (usually on public lands, I might add) without any threat of predators killing their "merchandise." So, the U.S. government has kow-towed to their demands for predator elimination. I realized then that if the public didn't buy from cattle ranchers, then ranchers wouldn't have the monetary power to control the lives of predators . . . . I decided that if I cared about wolves, I would have to stop eating cows. Of course, I didn't think about the plight of the cows at that time. But that realization was a tiny seed that would soon sprout.
Around the same time that I had that speech class, I met a woman named Jessica who was a vegetarian. I remember being intrigued by her, because she was different from most of the people in my classes. Still, I didn't think of becoming a vegetarian myself until I came home from class one day and my mother had cooked a ham. It was sitting on the kitchen counter, and there was a large bone protruding from it. My mother offered me some and I just looked at that bone and suddenly felt sick. Everything had come together: the realization that what I eat affects the world, the knowledge that there were people out there who did not in fact eat animals, and the sudden understanding that a piece of meat was in fact a piece of a dead animal. Very soon after all of this came together, I became a vegetarian . . .
I was sitting in my house one day, just thinking about it . . . . I realized that if I loved animals, as I had felt all my life, then I should stop eating all animals and stop participating in their exploitation. If I was going to stop eating cows, shouldn't I stop eating cheese, too? . . . . Shouldn't I stop eating eggs? . . . . And if I was going to stop eating animals, shouldn't I stop wearing them? In a matter of minutes, I had decided to stop eating meat, dairy, eggs, and to stop wearing leather. I even decided that, somehow, I would not feed my dog dead, tortured animals, either. (It turns out there are quite a few vegetarian dog foods on the market, and today my eight-year-old dog is thriving as a veggie dog, and still acts like a puppy!)
. . . . I knew I would never go back to eating animals again. My family and friends were of course surprised and concerned. A lot of people told me I would not be able to lead a healthy life . . . , but I ignored them all.
. . . . Becoming a vegan opened my eyes to so many things I had never thought of before, like the environment, and world hunger, and human rights. . . . . I enjoy knowing that every day, just by picking up a fork, I am changing the world.
--Susan S. Barber
from Voices From the Garden
Edited by Sharon and Daniel Towns
Pioneers: John Todd Ferrier and
The Order of the Cross
Born in Greenock, Scotland, in 1855, J. Todd Ferrier was ordained and served several Congregationalist churches in England. However, he experienced a series of revelations of esoteric meaning in Christianity that made his outlook incompatible with the conventional Christian religion of his day (or ours). He left his Congregational church in 1903 and the next year established an informal Christian fellowship called The Order of the Cross, an egalitarian group with services rather like those of mainline Protestant churches.
The growth of the Order was slow at first, but eventually it was established in several centers, chiefly in England. It still exists; information on Todd Ferrier's writings (he was to pen over forty books) may be found on its website, www.orderofthecross.org/info.htm.
The worldview of members of the Order overlaps with that of Theosophy --and in fact Ferrier was influenced by the writings of Anna Kingsford PT Oct. 05)-- but is distinctively Christian. It takes its rise from the Bible, which is understood as an allegorical and symbolic account of the soul's journey through countless lifetimes toward transformation and the regaining of its divine birthright. God is both Father and Mother; all life is profoundly akin. The Order's stated aims are "the cultivation of the Spirit of Love towards all Souls; helping the weak and defending the defenceless and oppressed; Abstaining from hurting the creatures, eschewing bloodshed and flesh-eating, . . .Walking in the Mystic Way of Life, whose Path leads to the realization of the Christhood . . . ."
Following is a quotation from Todd Ferrier's book On Behalf of the Creatures:
" Would you be one of the sons of God? Would you manifest in and through yourself the Divine pity, sympathy, and love? Would you attain to the Angelic condition, and minister even as heaven ministers to you? Then recognise your kinship to the races beneath you, and realise your responsibility towards them. Eat them not any more than you would your own kith and kin. Recognise that in many of them there is a brother or sister soul. Know through sympathy with them how truly and keenly they feel, and raise your voice against the sufferings inflicted upon them by a false science. Be to them as you would have the Angels be to you! Protect them with the wings of your pity, even as you would have God spread His Presence over you. So shall you be helped up to the Angelic . . . .To become One with God!"
--Gracia Fay Ellwood
Derived from The Avalonians by Patrick Benham, The Heretic's Feast by Colin Spencer, and the website of the Order of the Cross
Note: The Order of the Cross is not to be confused with The Order of the Cross and the Grail, another informal Christian fellowship holding much the same views and also committed to a vegetarian lifestyle.
Still Falls the Rain
The Raids, 1940. Night and Dawn
Still falls the Rain--
Dark as the world of man, black as our loss--
Blind as the nineteen hundred and forty nails
Upon the Cross.
Still falls the Rain
With a sound like the pulse of the heart that is changed to the hammer-beat
In the Potter's Field, and the sound of the impious feet
On the Tomb:
Still falls the Rain
In the Field of Blood where the small hopes breed and the human brain
Nurtures its greed, that worm with the brow of Cain
Still falls the Rain
At the feet of the Starved Man hung upon the Cross.
Christ that each day, each night, nails there, have mercy on us--
On Dives and on Lazarus:
Under the Rain the sore and the gold are as one.
Still falls the Rain--
Still falls the Blood from the Starved Man's wounded Side:
He bears in His Heart all wounds--those of the light that died,
The last faint spark
In the self-murdered heart, the wounds of the sad uncomprehending dark,
The wounds of the baited bear--
The blind and weeping bear whom the keepers beat
On his helpless flesh . . . the tears of the hunted hare.
Still falls the Rain--
Then--O Ile leape up to my God: who pulles me doune--
See, see where Christ's blood streames in the firmament:
It flows from the Brow we nailed upon the tree
Deep to the dying, to the thirsting heart
That holds the fires of the world--dark-smirched with pain
As Caesar's laurel crown.
Then sounds the voice of One who like the heart of man
Was once a child who among beasts has lain--
"Still do I love, still shed my innocent Light, my blood, for thee."
The Peaceable Table is
intended to resume the witness of that excellent vehicle of the Friends
Vegetarian Society of North America, The Friendly
Vegetarian, which appeared quarterly between 1982 and
1995. Following its example, and sometimes borrowing from its
treasures, we publish articles for toe-in-the-water
vegetarians as well as long-term ones, poetry, letters, book
and film reviews, and recipes.
The journal is intended to be
interactive; contributions, including illustrations, are
invited for the next issue. Deadline for the February issue
will be January 31, 2007. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
or 10 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023. We operate primarily
online in order to conserve trees and labor, but hard copy
is available for interested persons who are not online.
The latter are asked to donate $12 (USD) per year if their means allow. Other
donations to offset the cost of the domain name, server and
advertising notices are welcome.
Editor: Gracia Fay Ellwood
Book and Film Reviewers: Benjamin Urrutia & Robert Ellwood
Recipe Editor: Angela Suarez
NewsNotes Contributors: Marian Hussenbux & Lorena Mucke
Technical Architect: Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood