Religious liberty wins out over cruelty to animals. Most of us would celebrate that in principle, but the details make me squeamish.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has said the City of Euless cannot prevent a resident from sacrificing a goat as part of his religious practice. The city prohibits cruelty to animals and the keeping of livestock, except chickens, and it obviously didn’t put those ordinances into effect just to stop a group of Santaria worshipers from killing goats. But the 5th Circuit says the goats can die–for religious purposes, that is. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram story)
It really doesn’t matter that Santaria is a small religion or even a scary one. Those of us who believe in religious liberty know that it minority practices are the ones most in need of protecting. And some people think Baptists are a bit scary.
That said, this ruling just doesn’t seem right. Michael Vick goes to prison for killing dogs (which I detest), but I guess if he had started a religion that requires dog fighting then it would have been OK.
I probably need legal advice, but sometimes I think a little common sense would be nice. We don’t need to be killing goats, or dogs, in suburban backyards. Of course, on my ranch, that would be OK. Life is tricky.