Sunday, August 9, 2009

Defending Goat Sacrifice?

Eric Rassbach, National Litigation Director at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has an article in today's Wall Street Journal called, "Why I Defend Goat Sacrifice." Rassbach represents a Santeria priest in Texas, and defends his client's " religious practice of killing goats in his home in the Dallas suburbs." Here's the crux of Rassbach's argument:
freedom of religion doesn’t mean much if it protects only those beliefs that the government, or the general populace, decides it likes. It is first and foremost unpopular beliefs that need the protections afforded by the First Amendment and international human rights treaties like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
But religious freedom is not the exact equivalent of free speech rights. Religious practices go far beyond mere speech and can involve things that are otherwise unacceptable for various  good reasons.  Suppose someone decides to become a worshipper of Moloch, and feels obligated to sacrifice his first-born child. That would be an unpopular belief. Is it protected by the First Amendment? What about religious beliefs that advocate the marriage of adult men to underage children? Do we have to tolerate those practices on behalf of religious freedom? There is no absolute right to religious freedom as Rassbach seems to argue. 


  1. I blogged on the Texas case recently, when the 5th Circuit overturned the trial court's ruling in favor of the City of Euless. Your point about adult men marrying underage girls is a good one (and another problem we have in Texas), but I pointed out a less stunning, and thus more likely, outcome of the "anything goes in religious freedom" argument: that household pets could be sacrificed.

  2. That's actually the same case - Merced. Rassbach was his lawyer.

    Yes, if you can sacrifice a goat, why not a dog or a cat?

  3. Sorry, after rereading your comment, it appears that you already were aware that it was the same case.

  4. Wait a minute! You people seem to be confused, malinformed and undereducated.

    The goat, chickens and turtle that are sacraficed for Santeria are typically used as food after.

    Whether you eat goat, chicken or turtle is completely up to you. I'm a vegan, I don't eat any animal products.

    However to say that if someone kills a goat for religious practices will lead to people killing dogs, then you're simply wrong. That is a very poor analogy and is absurd at the very least. It demonstrates your lack of ability to understand cultures other than your own. I would be willing to bet you're white, Christian, and have relatively little experience of the world outside of your local community.

    One problem Christians seem to have across the board, and yes, I too am Christian, is they tend to believe Christianity is somehow the only religion. Wrong again. There are many, and many that are thousands of years older than Christianity. It's also worth mentioning that Christianity is NOT the majority religion in the world.

    If you recall, American history claims this country was based on religious freedom, as many came here to escape religious persecution. It really isn't.

    White man came, took the native's land, forced their religion upon the native (the ones they didn't kill) brought over slaves, took their religion away.

    You can't have it both ways. If you expect to have the liberty to become politically involved through your religion, then you should allow others to practice rituals that go back much further than the life of Jesus.