Seal and Penguin FriendshipI have no further information about this remarkable friendship, other than that the seal’s devotion is unquestionable. If you know more about it, please do tell.Editor’s Corner Essay: “Not One Hoof Left Behind”The tale of Exodus--the founding story of Judaism, and the Bible’s great symbol of God’s liberating love for the oppressed, “the least of these my brothers [and sisters],” includes particular details about animals. These details are ambivalent; they do not clearly specify that animals are to be liberated too, but the whole story has deeply liberating implications.It involves a contest between Pharaoh, the imperial slave-owner and Moses, the once reluctant prophet whom God has sent to tell Pharaoh “Let my people go.” As the Ten Plagues take place, putting more and more pressure on Pharaoh and his supporters, he is feeling that his control of his empire is at risk: the power of his magicians to work wonders has proven unequal to that of Yahweh lodged in Moses and Aaron. Like virtually all powerful exploiters, the king doesn’t give up power freely; he will make promises when he must, but reneges on them as soon as he thinks he can get by with it. At one point he says “You may go out into the wilderness to sacrifice to Yahweh your god, but your children must stay behind.” Moses won’t accept that; the children must come too, he insists.Forced to give up on that attempt, Pharaoh later proposes “You may go out into the wilderness to sacrifice to your god, but your animals must stay here.” But Moses won’t buy this ploy, either. He declares that all the animals must come too, because the people won’t know which animals must be used for the sacrifice until they get there. Bible theologian Walter Brueggemann in his book “Delivered Out of Empire” comments that in this explanation may be playing a game with Pharaoh rather than giving the real reason, which is probably that the Israelites, being herders, will need their animals if the people are to live elsewhere beyond Pharaoh’s reach independently and permanently. Either way, the animals remain property; they are not freed.Clearly, there is no liberation for them so far. But Brueggemann sees more going on here than what the Exodus is saying explicitly. In both the sociopolitical and the religious realms, he traces two themes in tension: One is the theme of exclusion [and purity,] as exemplified in the book of Ezra. Only the Holy Seed, those descended from pure Israelite roots, may join the number returning to Jerusalem after the captivity; Ezra even orders the breaking up of families in which one spouse, and thus the children, are from other countries and peoples; they are to be left behind.The other theme, inclusion, is represented here in Exodus, where Moses insists that nothing and no one, down to the least,the one held in lowest regard, is to be left behind in Pharaoh’s clutches; all are part of the liberated, even animals, even the parts of the animals that are closest to the ground and most likely to get scratched and damaged by rocky or uneven terrainOther examples Brueggemann cites, modern-day events from the Christian tradition: inclusion is manifested by Nelson Mandela who, when offered freedom from the prison in Robben Island by the then-apartheid government of South Africa, refused the gift unless all his fellow political prisoners would also be freed. Confident that this was the will of God, Mandela was willing to risk his own much-desired future as a free man to demonstrate his solidarity with others who have also been oppressed and maligned for their liberating work.A counter-example is the infamous series of sixteen “Left Behind” adventure novels, presenting an imagined version of the Last Days of the world, in which the Rapture takes place. Individuals here and there inexplicably disappear, as the true people of God are taken up to be with Christ, while others are left behind, at risk for great suffering The battles between the children of Light and the children of Darkness take place, with a great deal of violence sanctioned by God.When the Exodus is seen in this wider context, animals are fully included by virtue of the “Exodus principle,” analyzed by Rosemary Radford Ruether. (See We Were Slaves to Pharaoh , PT 31). The prophets use this theme again and again, applying it to later situations in the history of Israel. A good example is found in Isaiah 61, which Jesus, as himself a prophet, quotes at the beginning of his ministry in Luke chapter 4:“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,Because he has anointed meto preach good news to the poor;He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,To proclaim liberty to the captives,And the opening of the prison to those who are in chains. . . .”The Exodus principle is the central spiritual insight embodied in the story of Exodus: that God wills the liberation of all marginalized, oppressed, and enslaved beings; none are to be the slaves of the powerful. Rather, God seeks for all those whom S/He considers members of her family to thrive.The Bible is a library, written over a period of more than a thousand years; we cannot expect that all writers will be aware of this principle, not even that the autho[s] of Exodus himself will understand its full implications. Over the centuries, as the principle is cited by prophets and liberators in different situations of oppression, deeper implications will be discovered. Black humans are not to be controlled by Whites; women are not to be subject to men; the poor are equal in value to the rich; same-sex love is no less holy than that joining members of two sexes.Animals are beings much beloved by God, who has sent us daughters and sons of the prophets to proclaim liberty to the captives.--Editor.NewsNotesNational Animal Rights DayJune 6 was the eleventh National Animal Rights Day. “They start with a Memorial Ceremony for the billions of animals who die every year by human hands; [the ceremonies] often include some of the actual victims, and [go on to] the reading and signing of The Declaration of Animal Rights. They end with a Celebration of the animals in our lives, and the steps that are being made every year towards ending animals' suffering and shifting humanity to a cruelty-free, plant-based (vegan) lifestyle.”--Contributed by Judy Carman and Will TuttleCage Age to be Ended in European Union!The Commission of the European Union has announced that it will respond positively to a petition by over one million citizens to end confinement in cages for pigs, chickens, sows, calves, rabbits, quail, ducks and geese after a transition period of two years. See Cage Age--Contributed by Marian HussenbuxUnset Gems"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men."― Alice Walker"Animals are reliable, many of them full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal.Difficult standards for people to live up to."― Alfred A. MontapertPioneer: David of Wales, ca. 500 - 589David is the patron saint of Wales, and is, unofficially, often called the patron saint of vegetarians and vegans. He was undoubtedly an exemplary Christian, a powerful force for the growth of the faith in his small land in the west of Great Britain. He was a committed abstainer from meat, animal products, and any drink other than water. However, much of what is told about him is legendary, though we must always recall that sometimes significant meaning is conveyed in story form through the legend.David was born of an aristocratic family, and indeed one legend makes him the nephew of another famous Welshman, King Arthur. However, David is said to have been conceived when his mother, St. Non (also a saintly ascetic) was raped by a nobleman. The infant’s birth was reportedly outdoors on a clifftop, and extremely painful, though bathed in heavenly light while a fierce storm raged all around, weather preventing enemies who wished him dead from approaching the sacred birth.The child was well educated, and seemed destined to the priesthood from an early age. Though not the first Christian in Wales, he acquired fame as a missionary preacher. Indeed, the charismatic orator established a string of monasteries and churches in the wake of his travels about Wales. David did much to give these holy communities institutional viability, so that in later years David was virtually identified with the Church of Wales.One legend relates that he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where the patriarch there consecrated him archbishop and patriarch of the Welsh church. St. David’s cathedral, located on an isolated but beautiful tract on the west coast of the country, is on the site of the saint’s principal monastery. (Interior pictured; exterior pictured below.) I visited this great structure on my first trip abroad in 1956 and was much impressed by its location amid the energies of sea and land, together with those of God above, and little else to distract one. (It is now an Anglican place of worship.)Such a setting would have pleased David. Despite any outward honors, he and his monks followed lives of considerable asceticism, wanting little from the world. They drank nothing but water, and ate only bread seasoned with salt and herbs. (An example of the herbs might be the leek, his favorite and now a symbol of David and Wales; the saint is said to have urged Welsh soldiers to wear it as identification in a war against the Saxons.) David’s docents worked very hard, cultivating their land while pulling the plows themselves rather than using enslaved oxen. They also developed crafts, including beekeeping. The monastics kept themselves in nourishment by the labor of their hands, while also providing food and lodging to travelers, and looking after the poor. His monasteries continued their vegan regimen until well into the Middle Ages, but eventually this practice lapsed.To some extent David’s veganism no doubt reflects the asceticism common to many early Christian mystics and monastics, an understandable reaction against the notorious callousness and self-indulgence of the Roman world, but sometimes more concerned with personal purity than compassion for animals. (David also had a practice of standing up his neck in cold water and reciting scripture, so self-indulgence wasn’t his problem..) However, care for animals may be reflected in his monks’ practice of pulling plows themselves rather than hitching enslaved oxen to them. There is also an interesting story of one of his miracles, in which a hill rose under his feet, lifting him up while he was preaching outdoors, and a white dove settled on his shoulder (see stained glass picture above). This may reflect a perceived special affinity for creatures of fur and feather, such as that of Francis of Assisi.Here is a quotation from David, said to be from his last sermon and so virtually his last words: “Be joyful and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.” Perhaps the "little things" include diet and care about animals.The name of David, as patron of vegetarians and vegans, is one we should bear in mind with gratitude. And if you ever get to Wales, be sure to visit St. David’s cathedral.– Robert EllwoodRecipe: Green SoupBeautiful Soup, so rich and green,Waiting in a hot tureen!Who for such dainties would not stoop?Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!-Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland1 whole shallot bulb (may contain 2 or more “cloves”), mincedOlive oil—about ½ cup3 or 4 vegetable bouillon cubes (I’ve also made this using vegan curry flavored bouillon cubes with delightful results)About 4 cups broccoli, chopped3-4 tablespoons of vegan butter such as Melt or Earth BalanceDirections:Heat a large saucepo to medium heat and pour in a generous amount of olive oil. I’ve never measured it, but it’s at least 1/3 cup, probably a little more. Add minced shallots to the warm oil and cook at medium heat until translucent and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.I prepare the bouillon by dissolving 3-4 bouillon cubes into about a cup of boiling water, then I add it to the shallots and oil. You can also put the cubes right into the shallots and oil and break up the cubes with a wooden spoon.Once the bouillon is mixed into the shallots, add all the broccoli. Then add enough water so that about an inch of the broccoli sticks out at the top. If you are pressed for time, add already-boiling water and the soup will cook more quickly. Cover with a lid and keep the heat at medium-low. Let everything cook for about 15 minutes or until the broccoli is very tender.Once the broccoli is soft enough that a fork or butter knife inserted into a floret goes through easily, it’s time to blend the soup. If you have an immersion blender, turn off the heat and blend all of the soup until it is totally blended and smooth. If you do not, use a blender and blend the soup in small batches, bearing in mind that very hot soup can be rather explosive in a blender. Fill the blender only half full or less at a time, and cover the lid with a dishcloth just in case.Once everything is blended, return to the pot. Add several generous tablespoons of vegan butter to the soup and stir to dissolve. At this time, taste the soup and see if it needs salt and pepper (or more butter ;). The soup should be rich and about as thick as your average creamy soup. You may feel free to add more water if needed. But because it’s easy for it to get too runny, I recommend erring on the side of less water to begin with.Serve and enjoy!Serves about 6 people as a small cup appetizer, 4 people if having larger portions.Poetry: AnonymousWhen Israel was in Egypt’s land,Let my people go!Oppressed so hard they could not stand,Let my people go.Refrain:Go down, Moses,Way down in Egypt’s land,Tell old Pharaoh,Let my people go!“Thus spake the Lord,” bold Moses said,“Let my people go.If not I’ll smite your firstborn dead,Let my people go.”(Refrain)No more shall they in bondage toil,Let my people go.Let them come out with Egypt’s spoil,Let my people go.(Refrain)This spiritual was made famous by bass-baritone Paul Robeson, 1898 - 1976 (pictured), son of a father who escaped from slavery. To hear a recording of him singing it, go to Robeson .