Thursday, August 28, 2008
First Amendment May Be No Shield For Santeria Worshippers
The American Constitution Society's Blog has an interesting post today about cruelty cases pending in New York against practitioners of Santeria. In Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, , the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Hialeah, Florida, ordinance on that grounds that it violated the First Amendment because it would have prevented Santeria worshippers from sacrificing animals. The ACS Blog notes that even if animal sacrifice for religious purposes is currently allowed under the First Amendment, the practice still can violate laws aimed at preventing cruelty to animals. For example, two Santeria worshippers are facing multiple charges over the improper treatment of animals in New York and New Jersey. They were charged with violating cruelty to animal statutes because, according to a police investigation, the animals died from malnutrition. The post also says that the two face charges for unlawfully transporting more than 100 animals from a New Jersey farm without proper documents.