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Animal Sacrifice and Religious Freedom: Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye V. City of Hialeah (Landmark Law Cases & American Society)


Animal Sacrifice and Religious Freedom: Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye V. City of Hialeah (Landmark Law Cases & American Society) Cover

ISBN13: 9780700613038
ISBN10: 070061303x
Condition: Standard
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The Santeria religion of Cuba—the Way of the Saints—mixes West AfricanYoruba culture with Catholicism. Similar to Haitian voodoo, Santeria has long practiced animal sacrifice in certain rites. But when Cuban immigrants brought those rituals to Florida, local authorities were suddenly confronted with a controversial situation that pitted the regulation of public health and morality against religious freedom.

After Ernesto Pichardo established a Santeria church in Hialeah in the 1980s, the city of Hialeah responded by passing ordinances banning ritual animal sacrifice. Although on the surface those ordinances seemed general in intent, they were clearly aimed at Pichardo's church. When Pichardo subsequently sued the city, a federal court ruled in the latter's favor, in effect privileging the regulation of public health and morality over the church's free exercise of its religion.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard Pichardo's appeal in 1993 and unanimously decided that the city had overstepped its bounds in targeting this particular religious group; however, the court was sharply divided regarding the basis of its decision. Three concurring opinions registered distinctly different views of the First Amendment, the limits of government regulation, and the religious freedom of minorities. In the end, the nine justices collectively concluded that freedom of religious belief was absolute while the freedom to practice the tenets of any faith were subject to non-discriminatory local regulations.

David O'Brien, one of America's foremost scholars of the Court, now illuminates this controversy and its significance for law, government, and religion in America. His lively account takes us behind the scenes at every stage of the litigation to reveal a riveting case with more twists and turns than a classic whodunit. Ranging with equal ease from primitive magic to municipal politics and to the most arcane points of constitutional law, O'Brien weaves a compelling and instructive tale with a fascinating array of politicians, lawyers, jurists, civil libertarians, and animal rights advocates. Offering sharp insights into the key issues and personalities, he highlights cultural clashes large and small, while maintaining a balance for both the needs of government and the religious rights of individuals.

The "Santeria case" reaffirmed that our laws must be generally applicable and neutral and may not discriminate against particular religions. Tracing the path to that conclusion, Animal Sacrifice and Religious Freedom provides a provocative and learned account of one of the most unusual and contentious religious freedom cases in American history.

Table of Contents

Editors' Preface


1. Of Memories and Dreams

2. The Chicken Wars

3. Minorities and Religious Freedom

4. Rituals on Trial

5. Conflicting Cultures

6. May It Please the Court

7. A Thunderbolt


Appendix: Hialeah's Resolutions and Ordinances on Ritual Animal Sacrifice



List of Relevant Cases

Bibliographic Essay


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melanie777, August 5, 2009 (view all comments by melanie777)
I grew up in this religion I still have not gone through all the ceremonies necessary to be a santera, but I cant tell you this I am a vegetarian, and at times it really does bother me to think that one day I will have to be performing these rituals. Especially because I love animals so much I practically have a zoo in my home. But then I think about the significance of these sacrifices. We do them to cleanse people of hexes, spells, sicknesses, evil spirits, even exorcisms, and I know that it is worth it. At times they are used for offerings to the saints, but at the end the animal is cooked and fed to everyone that was present as a blessed food.

So if you think about it everyday animals are killed whether it be for food, or hunting as a sport, and in this case for the purification of ones self.
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Product Details

Obrien, David M
University Press of Kansas
O'Brien, David M.
Lawrence, Kan.
Legal History
Freedom of religion
Animal sacrifice.
Religious minorities
United States - State & Local - South
Law : General
Edition Description:
Landmark Law Cases & American Society
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
8.48x5.45x.63 in. .60 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » Civil Liberties and Human Rights
History and Social Science » Law » Constitutional Law
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » Religious Experience

Animal Sacrifice and Religious Freedom: Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye V. City of Hialeah (Landmark Law Cases & American Society) Used Trade Paper
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