San­te­ria priest ap­peals an­i­mal slaugh­ter de­ci­sion

Becket Fund for Re­li­gious Lib­erty files the ap­peal

The Covington News - - Religion -

EU­LESS, Texas — A San­te­ria priest has filed an ap­peal in fed­eral court af­ter he lost his re­li­gious-free­dom chal­lenge to a city ban on an­i­mal slaugh­ter.

The Wash­ing­ton- based Becket Fund for Re­li­gious Lib­erty filed an ap­peal Tues­day on be­half of Jose Merced to the 5th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in New Or­leans.

“The First Amend­ment was writ­ten to pro­tect the abil­ity of all faiths to wor­ship in their own homes and in their own way,” Kevin “Sea­mus” Has­son, pres­i­dent of the Becket Fund said in a state­ment. “Peo­ple of all faiths should be con­cerned when the gov­ern­ment says some­one can­not prac­tice their re­li­gion in their own home.”

Merced — an Oba, or priest — said an­i­mal sac­ri­fices are an es­sen­tial de­vo­tion in San­te­ria, a re­li­gion that emerged in Cuba when Yoruba slaves fused el­e­ments of Ro­man Catholi­cism with their re­li­gious tra­di­tions from Africa.

Merced sought a per­mit from Eu­less of­fi­cials but was de­nied per­mis­sion to sac­ri­fice goats as part of a re­li­gious cer­e­mony. For the rite, a 4-inch blade is used to sever an an­i­mal’s carotid artery, let­ting blood fall on a shrine. The an­i­mal is then pre­pared and eaten.

Eu­less of­fi­cials have in­sisted in court that lo­cal san­i­ta­tion or­di­nances pro­hibit the slaugh­ter of cer­tain kinds of an­i­mals inside city lim­its. Of­fi­cials could not dis­cuss the case be­cause the city does not com­ment on pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion, said Eu­less spokes­woman Betsy Deck.

U.S. Dis­trict Judge John McBryde ruled in fa­vor of the city of Eu­less last month, say­ing Merced could per­form his an­i­mal sac­ri­fices else­where, but not in the Fort Worth sub­urb.

In 1993, the Supreme Court ruled in fa­vor of the Church of the Lukumi Ba­balu Aye in Hialeah, Fla., and is­sued an opin­ion pro­tect­ing the rights of San­te­ria prac­ti­tion­ers to rit­u­ally slaugh­ter an­i­mals.

Sis­ters give up monastery

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS — The shrink­ing num­ber of women called to Ro­man Catholic re­li­gious vo­ca­tions has caught up with the Carmelite Sis­ters of In­di­anapo­lis. They’re giv­ing up their monastery and mov­ing in with an­other or­der 60 miles away.



who’ve main­tained a pres­ence on In­di­anapo­lis’ north­west side for 75 years, are mov­ing this sum­mer to the south­east­ern In­di­ana town of Olden­burg to live along­side the Sis­ters of St. Francis.

The Carmelites’ num­bers have fallen off to just nine sis­ters from 12 four years ago, and their av­er­age age has grown to the mid-70s. Mean­while, ef­forts in re­cent years to re­cruit new mem­bers have pro­duced few tak­ers.

“We feel we will have quite a few more years to live our life the way it is sup­posed to be lived. Then we will die out. There is no ques­tion about that,” said Sis­ter Jean Alice McGoff, pri­oress of the monastery and a res­i­dent for 59 years.

It’s a fate other re­li­gious or­ders for women also face, said Pa­tri­cia Ann Wit­tberg, a so­ci­ol­o­gist and pro­fes­sor at In­di­ana Univer­sity-Pur­due Univer­sity In­di­anapo­lis.

The Sis­ters of Prov­i­dence based at St. Mary-of-theWoods in west­ern In­di­ana have de­clined from 1,000 sis­ters in the 1960s to about 450 to­day. The Sis­ters of St. Francis in Olden­burg, where the Carmelites are headed, have dropped from a peak of 850 to about 290.

So­cial forces have worked against re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties, Wit­tberg said.

Catholic neigh­bor­hoods of the early 20th cen­tury were more “en­cap­su­lated” than they are now, she said. Nuns were highly vis­i­ble in schools, and their ser­vice was revered. Life as a nun also of­fered women ed­u­ca­tion and ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties un­avail­able else­where. Women to­day have broader op­por­tu­ni­ties. Di­min­ished role

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Mis- souri Demo­crat who is also a Methodist min­is­ter, says he will be tak­ing a smaller role at the church he has led for more than 35 years.

Cleaver said April 6 that the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III, will be­come co-pas­tor at the St. James United Methodist Church on July 1. The younger Cleaver is ex­pected to be­come se­nior pas­tor in two years.

Cleaver, a first-term con­gress­man, has tried to bal­ance serv­ing as pas­tor and law­maker, but said the con­gre­ga­tion needs a full-time pas­tor.

“ You de­serve some­body who is go­ing to be here all the time,” he said.

The con­gre­ga­tion says it has more than 2,000 mem­bers and holds ser­vices in a 1,000per­son sanc­tu­ary. Cleaver, 63, was a two-term Kansas City mayor and earned a mas­ter’s de­gree in 1974 from St. Paul School of The­ol­ogy in Kansas City.

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