Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's Funny What Upsets People In Florida.

Floridian blogger Sinfonian, not AFAIK a Pagan (although Santeria, generally classified as syncretic, seems, to me, as much a xian denomination as a Pagan one), has an interesting post up concerning the latet dust-up between yet-another group of those animal-sacrificing Santerians and the neighbors who love to hate them.

Like so many others, I have mixed feelings about this whole issue (upon which, it's important to note, the Supreme Court has already ruled). I love animals and am repulsed at the idea of killing them. But, I eat meat, fish, birds, plants with whose devas I've communed. I swat mosquitoes. I've put out traps and poison when mice invaded my home. And, I have experienced how much power is released at the moment of any creature's death, so I can certainly understand why it can be useful in a ritual. (Really difficult to channel, but, still useful for a practiced (and there's the rub) practitioner, simply because there's so much of it and it's so instantaneous). Additionally, ritual slaughter of animals goes back at least to the Kurgans and possibly back to the domestication of farm animals. It was certainly practiced by the ancient Greeks, the Hebrews, and likely the Celts. Santeria goes back to the Yorubans of modern-day Nigeria. It beats, by most accounts, sacrificing other humans.

What I find truly interesting is the societal cognitive dissonance on this issue. It's completely ok for Dick Cheney to slaughter birds raised in captivity and released specifically so that he can slaughter them. Killing animals from magestic bucks to squirrels is considered a bonding experience for groups of men, fathers and sons, brothers. Hell, can you imagine how the NRA would react to the suggestion that maybe we should at least even the odds and make hunters use spears or bows and arrows? And, beyond that, conservatives hate the endangered species list. It's absolutely a god-given right of American developers to destroy the environment needed to sustain entire species of animals, to damn up the streams that salmon need to spawn, to cut down the trees where birds and squirrels and insects live. We enslave animals and use them to run races for our amusement, to suffer and die in safety tests for old ladies' eye creams, and to live in our zoos. But, ZOMG!, don't let the Santerians sacrifice a chicken or a goat!

So while I've zero desire to participate in the ritual slaughter of animals, forgive me if I'm not clutching my pearls over Santeria. Get back to me when Dick Cheney gets in trouble for shooting his friends in the face, much less captive birds, shot for mere pleasure.

And, you know, Florida, first you couldn't count chads, and then you elected Katherine Harris, and now, well, now, you're apparently still working hard to convince the rest of us that you are mentally retarded:

"They ordered us out of the house, desecrated a holy space, treated us like criminals," the Santierian priest said. They were doing this inside.

Neighbors said that while they respect Batista's right to practice his faith, they wish he would not be so public about it.

"I just think they should do those things away from neighborhoods, where there are no kids and nobody can see those things," said Ricardo Celiz, a sports anchor for Univisión's Spanish-language broadcast network, TeleFutura. His family, including two small children, lives four houses away.

"And definitely I don't want them to see any dead animals at that house," he said.

OK, Mr. Sports Anchor, here's a suggestion. Don't send your kids four houses down to peep in the windows, ok? Meanwhile, I won't turn on the fucking tv, where my G/Son would be subjected to horses being quirted to run faster in horseraces, fishing shows that display fish getting gutted, show dogs being groomed and trotted around Westminster, or xian ministers blathering on about the sacrifice of the body and blood of jebuz, how would that be?


phinky said...

Well, as Dave Berry said, "You can't spell Florida without Duh".

I'm so glad I don't live in my home state anymore.

Sinfonian said...

For the record, despite its faults, I love Florida. It's home, and we're not all mentally retarded. ;)

And I never cast a vote for Katherine Harris, either. But, yeah, we have our share of "morans."

Thanks for the linky goodness, Hecate. And, no, I'm not a pagan. More of a non-religionist these days ...

Luna said...

I am totally with you on this one.

Sometimes I actually miss Florida -- the live oaks, the Spanish moss, the alligators and the lush, green abundance.
And then I remember the people. And the cockroaches. And I can't always tell which one was worse because as long as they weren't bothering me, I could tolerate either. But it seemed as though their respective natures were to bother and get into things that weren't their business.

Yes, there were plenty of great people in Florida, and I had some good friends there. So, maybe the roaches win the hate contest. It's close, though.

Anyway, living there really makes me love my "dirty water" (although the Charles isn't as dirty as it was when the song came out) and all the "cold, rude New Englanders" who at least leave you alone when it comes to religion.

Anne Johnson said...

Please answer this. How can you live ANYWHERE outside your living room and not see a dead animal? Have those tender children never seen a possum splattered across the highway? Geez, the things people say!

Anonymous said...

I knew as soon as I read about the fuss that you would have a very good sane piece on it.

Most major religions including Hinduism and Buddhism do have animal sacrifice.

Christians never said animal sacrifice was was evil or ever distasteful to God just inadequate and superseded.

But somehow it drives people out of their minds. I remember reading about some animals that were
rescued from sacrifice and sent to farms. Apparently with no one getting the irony.