Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Killing Two Birds with One Stone

Animal sacrifices are a sure sign that any civilization is on the downward slope.  What does it say of a country when it allows its national bird to be killed in a ritual animal sacrifice?  What happened to animal rights?  What happened to preserving endangered species?

The other day, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service issued a rare permit allowing the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming to kill two bald eagles in a religious ceremony.  The tribe, through lawsuits filed by the Native American Rights Fund, contends that refuse to issue such permits violates a tribes’ religious freedom.

Last time anyone checked, no one gets the right to perform animal sacrifices.  Not in the America we used to know, anyone.  Although Native Americans can apply for eagle feathers and carcasses from a federal repository, that’s not enough.  These Indians want screaming eagles.

According to a report by MSNBC, “Federal law prohibits the killing of bald eagles, the national bird, in almost all cases. The government keeps eagle feathers and body parts in a federal repository and tribal members can apply for them for use in religious ceremonies.

“The bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened species in 2007, following its reclassification in 1995 from endangered to threatened. However, the species has remained protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service in 2009 stated in a report that it had never issued a permit for the killing of bald eagles to that time. The report states the government had issued permits for the Hopi Tribe in Arizona to take golden eagles since the mid-1980s.  Federal lawyers filed a status report in the lawsuit on Tuesday saying that the Eastern Shoshone Tribe had opposed the killing of eagles on the Wind River Indian Reservation, which the two tribes share in central Wyoming. The report states that the federal permit will allow the Northern Arapaho to kill up to two bald eagles off the reservation.

“Filed late last year, the lawsuit is essentially the continuation of a bitter legal fight that followed after tribal member Winslow Friday killed a bald eagle without a permit in 2005 for use in his tribe's Sun Dance. Friday shot the eagle on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

“William Downes, then a federal judge in Wyoming, dismissed the charge against Friday in 2006 saying it would have been pointless for him to apply for a permit.

“Downes said the federal government generally refuses to grant permits to tribal members to kill eagles even though federal regulations say such permits should be available.

“’Although the government professes respect and accommodation of the religious practices of Native Americans, its own actions show callous indifference to such practices,’ Downes wrote.

“Federal prosecutors appealed Downes' decision and a federal appeals court reinstated the criminal charge against Friday. After the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately refused to hear his case, Friday pleaded guilty in tribal court and was ordered to pay a fine.

“Baldwin said the tribe's lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service was directly related to the government's prosecution of Friday.

“’One of the goals of the current suit is to prevent any young men like Winslow Friday from being prosecuted in the future for practicing their traditional religious ceremonies,’ Baldwin said.

“Senior members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe appeared at an Senior members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe appeared at an appeals court hearing court in Denver in late 2007 in support of Friday.

“Nelson P. White Sr., then a member of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, said after the hearing that the birds Native Americans receive from a federal depository were rotten, or otherwise unfit for use in religious ceremonies.

“’That's unacceptable,’ White said after the court hearing. ‘How would a non-Indian feel if they had to get their Bible from a repository?”

We non-Indians don’t need to shoot our Bibles out of the trees, especially one that is also a recognized national symbol.  But then, Indians don’t regard themselves as Americans.  They consider themselves “Native Americans.”  They are no more native to this continent than any of us.  Paleontologists state that the “Native Americans” came over an Ice Age land bridge from Asia.  Coming down from Alaska, they gradually migrated eastward, although certain Indian legends say that the Lenni Lenape were actually here all along, emerging from caves after the glaciers receded.

This lawsuit affords Obama the opportunity of killing two birds with one act.  First, he gets to destroy a symbol of American freedom and courage.  The tribes spout a lot of baloney about actually honoring the eagle by killing it.  Yeah, right.  This the same sort of barbaric practice found all across Europe and Asia in the Dark Ages, through the history of Rome; gladiators killing lions and tigers and eating their hearts before the throngs of Roman citizens for their amusement.

Back in the 1970s, there was a famous environmental commercial showing an Indian canoeing his way along a garbage-strewn river with a tear in his eye.  The commercial also featured a soaring bald eagle.  The Indian tribes turn up their noses at eagles they haven’t hunted themselves.  The repository offers plenty of birds killed by accident, one of those accidents being the giant windmills, which is killing thousands of golden eagles as well as other birds.  So much for saving the environment and conserving resources. 

Opening the way for Native Americans will also open the way for other religions that practice animal sacrifices.  These include most pagan religions, African tribes, cults of the Caribbean, the Muslims and even certain Orthodox Jewish orders.  Christianity is one of the few religions that proscribes animal worship and sacrifice (as well as human).  Baal (pronounced ‘bale’ – Glenn Beck got it right; I checked the Dad Dictionary – that’s how it’s pronounced), or Beezlebub (the Lord of the Flies) must be delighted.

In Muslim countries, animal sacrifice is so common, it’s done right in the streets and the public squares.  Is this our future?  The crèche will not be permitted in the public square, but go right ahead and sacrifice that lamb, goat, or eagle.   We must respect the diversity of world religions, even if they are a bit gory.  Just don't eat it.  PETA won't like that.

After all, we’re a “tolerant” society.


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