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Is our guarantee for religious freedom just for Christians, Muslims and Jews?

Most dominant religions in the United States think it’s all right to kill and eat goats but that you can’t do it in a residential neighborhood. But not all religions share that view.

José Merced moved to Euless, Texas, in 1990. A Santeria Oba Oriate, or priest, Merced had performed certain animal sacrifices essential to Santeria for 16 years. But in 2006, Euless said he had to stop. He sued the city on the grounds it had violated Texas’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Modern-day Santeria originated in Cuba and is a syncretism of Western African tribal religion and Roman Catholicism. It engages spirits called orishas through the use of life force that it gets, at times, via sacrificed animals. Its practitioners worship in the home — there are only a couple Santeria temples in the world and none of them are in the United States — and on special occasions such as ordination the worship calls for sacrifice of four-legged animals in addition to other animals.

This practice is in conflict with all sorts of generally accepted codes in Texas. Merced won his case in 2009.

Another victory for religious freedom in the United States.

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