- Become a CVA
Sustainer or Renew Membership
- Essay: The Holocaust and My
- The December Peaceable Table Is Now Online
Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
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2. Essay: The Holocaust and My Journey
There are always
multiple important factors that contribute the major choices we make
in life. What led me to be unusually concerned about the plight of
nonhumans? Early childhood experiences that I can’t recall
likely played significant roles, and I suspect that living in the
shadow the Holocaust was also important.
My family did not
lose any close relatives in the Holocaust, but my being of Jewish
descent likely added to the horror I have felt when contemplating the
systematic murder of millions of innocent people. Trying to understand
the causes of this enormous tragedy and thinking about how humanity
might avoid repeating such events has been a major focus of my
research and writing. I’d like to think that my book Guided by the
Faith of Christ offers some insight into these important questions.
A probing personal question, which I think all of us should ask
ourselves, is what would I have done if I were a German living under
the Nazis? What would I do if my government were bent on killing
innocent people? I remember well a discussion with my mother when I
was about 12. She expressing dismay that the German people allowed the
Holocaust to happen. I pointed out that resistance would almost
certainly have led to death. She replied that sometimes evil is so
great that you must resist, even if doing so would likely be fatal.
At the time, I thought that one should resist as best one could,
even if doing so were very dangerous, but it would be foolish to die
only for the purpose of taking a stand against evil. What would I do
in the face of such evil? I know what I’d hope I would do, but I can’t
know what I would do under a Nazi-like regime because my moral courage
has never been put to such a test. However, contemporary factory farms
present a somewhat analogous situation in that I see and have the
opportunity to respond to evil.
Our society engages in animal
abuse and murder on the most massive scale in human history. Nearly
all of today’s societies treat nonhuman beings as the Nazis treated
Jews, Gypsies, and other people for whom the Nazis had contempt. I am
fortunate to live in a society where I can respond to this evil with
little threat to my well-being. I have no excuse to be silent or
inactive. I am convinced that I have a personal and moral obligation
to advocate on behalf of the victims as best I can.
I will further explore whether or not it is appropriate to use
Holocaust imagery when describing factory faming – a form of
institutionalized, contemporary animal abuse.
3. The December Peaceable Table Is Now
The Editor's Corner Essay
reflects on Matthew's story of the massacre of the Holy Innocents, the
babies and toddlers of Bethlehem, and compares these victims of a
cruel local tyrant as well as systemic imperial violence, to one
category of victims of individual and imperial violence today: the
furred and feathered Holy Innocents massacred for food.
Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom shows a pair of friends who don't
look much alike enjoying a nature walk together.
Ellwood suggests in an Unset Gem that when the gulf between two animal
nations--as, e.g., that of elephant and human nations--is bridged, it
is like a gate into the Heavenly Jerusalem.
A link to a video
clip of the rescue by a knot of humans of a young humpback whale
trapped in a gill net, and her joyous demonstration of freedom
afterwards, is given in the NewsNote.
The December Pioneer is
Titus Flavius Clement, aka Clement of Alexandria, a teacher of the
early church who vigorously defended a vegetarian lifestyle, saying
that we humans ought not to kill animals to indulge our tastes, but to
treat them decently (including mothers and newborns, whom we should
not separate in order to take all their milk). In short, a
simple vegetarian diet, says Clement, is in keeping with respect for
God's good creation.
Most of the expenses of producing and
advertising The Peaceable Table come out of the pockets of a few
members of Quaker Animal Kinship, our sponsor. We would be
grateful for a Christmas present of some donations! (Make out
checks to Quaker Animal Kinship; we also receive PayPal.)
read this issue, see
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor
4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and
It’s the Sunday Before Christmas