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Religious freedom victory for cruel rooster-killing priestess

Religious freedom victory for cruel rooster-killing priestess

Despite being convicted on three counts of animal cruelty, ‘high priestess’ Mercy Carrion, above, will still be legally allowed to own live poultry for sacrificial purposes.

According to this report, Carrion, from Sterling in Virgina, was sentenced to five days in jail for each offence, suspended as long as she completes a course in how to sacrifice the creatures humanely within 12 months. She was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for each offence, with $800 suspended for each fine if she shows proof of taking the class.

Prosecuting attorney M Alexandra Hazel wanted Judge Deborah C Welsh to ban Carrion from owning poultry in the future, but the judge said agreed with defence attorney Allysa Woods that this would violate Carrion’s First Amendment rights to freely practice her religion, Santeria.

Carrion was arrested on May 5 after Loudoun County Animal Services officers found two decapitated roosters stuffed into a filing cabinet and a live rooster in a cardboard beer box saturated in faeces and urine without food or water.

LCAS officers also found blood splattered on the walls of her home, a club with a metal shield covered in blood and feathers, a knife covered in blood, religious idols, animal heads and parts skewered on sticks in a vase, among other things.

The officers began an investigation after an informant saw her run around the house, slamming the chickens into walls, bludgeoning them to death with a club, and burying and burning them alive.

Gro Mambo Danthorla Novanyon Idizol (aka Octavia Danielson), a high priestess and the executive board secretary of the National African Religion Congress (NARC), testified that Carrion is a member of her organisation. She said Carrion underwent an extensive initiation process to become a high priestess in Santeria, a pantheistic Afro-Hispanic religion that incorporates elements of Catholicism.

Idizol said the entire process of getting the animals, keeping and caring for them, killing them and disposing of them is sacred. Priestesses must care for the animals humanely, pray for them, bathe them in herbs before killing them and dispose of their bodies ritualistically.

Carrion testified that she “feeds the saints” with the blood of sacrificed animals.

Elders in the church instructed me to sacrifice three roosters, It was written I was to do this.

Carrion said she was in the middle of sacrificing the three roosters the night LCAS searched her home. The decapitated roosters were stuffed into a file cabinet once Carrion heard officers knock on her door. She said she was scared and didn’t know what to do other than try to hide the roosters’ bodies.

Judge Welsh said:

I do not believe the state statutes in question violate your free exercise of religion. They don’t in any way prevent you from sacrificing animals.

14 responses to “Religious freedom victory for cruel rooster-killing priestess”

  1. jay says:

    This is one of the things that people misunderstand about the separation of church and state in the US.

    The original purpose of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution was not to weaken religion but actually to support it, providing very limited control by the government. (In much of EU, the government actually has more control over religion because it can control the state religion, and by extension, others.)

    The courts have established limits, but the case has to be compelling. Since farmers kill chickens all the time the state would need to prove there was a substantial difference in this woman’s action before they could question it.

  2. L.Long says:

    My thought as well, Jay. If she is criminal then so is every other chicken killer. And all chicken eaters are also guilty by association. And if they think her killing is cruel, then I will believe them when they arrest every halal and kosher killer as well. Her religion is just as dimwitted as any other, but if you are allowing one, then all are OK.
    And why is the law so quick on getting the chicken killer, and so slow with kid diddlers???

  3. barriejohn says:

    You wouldn’t want to invite her on a hen-night, would you?

    My uncle and aunt kept chickens (as did other friends and neighbours in my youth), so I wonder how THEIR birds were dispatched? By wringing their necks, to the best of my recollection. The big family joke was that the one time that they gave us a chicken for Christmas (we lived with my grandmother) it was inedible!

  4. CoastalMaineBird says:

    Never quit figured out why it was called a “sacrifice”.
    Seems like Gro Mambo didn’t sacrifice anything, it was the chicken that took the fall.

  5. L.Long says:

    Name any gawd that did not LLLLoooove the smell of innocent blood for a sacrifice??? Look thru any book o;BS and fine one person who said ‘I love gawd’ then trough himself onto the fire????

  6. AgentCormac says:

    @ L.Long
    The difference is, I doubt most farmers kill their chickens by slamming them into walls, bludgeoning them to death, or burying and burning them alive. And I have no doubt that Carrion (who looks like she’s several eggs short of a dozen) enjoys every last sickening moment of the cruelty she inflicts.

  7. Vanity Unfair says:

    This is obviously an animal welfare case and not a religious freedom matter at all. As others have intimated, the same principles could be applied to halal or kosher slaughter.
    There was a television programme recently on the subject of free-range chickens that had the farmer culling weak birds by the twist-and -pull method. It looked to be as quick and humane as a long-drop execution but this is not about capital punishment. Birds destined for human consumption had to be dispatched to an abattoir for despatch: a process that looked to involve much more suffering over a longer period. It might be a matter of scale. I am not a vegetarian.

    To Lazarus Long:
    I love your false naivety. If I have understood your question, “Look through any book o’BS and find one person who said, ‘I love god’ then threw himself onto the fire?” I can only reply that that is the basis of the NT gospels. (The usual caveats about whether any of it really happened and why there are different versions apply, of course.) Otherwise, yes, good point.

  8. David Anderson says:

    Carrion Crow.

  9. Mike says:

    L.Long:

    She wasn’t convicted of cruelty to animals, for the sheer sake of killing them. She was convicted for the way that she treated them up to and within the process of how she killed them. Even farmers are following strict guideline as to how to treat livestock and the method of slaughter. Why does everyone obfuscate to sped their personal sociopolitical agenda?

  10. Killing chickens for food is one thing. Killing them in ritual to please some saint or god is another. Only people with badness in their hearts sacrifice anything to violent spirits.

  11. John the Drunkard says:

    ‘…as long as she completes a course in how to sacrifice the creatures humanely within 12 months.’

    And where is she supposed to find such a ‘course?’ Who decides what would be acceptable?’

    There’s quite a bit about meat in the New Testament. Since essentially ALL animal slaughter had ‘sacrificial’ baggage, it was questionable whether Xtians could eat meat without endorsing Kosher/halal practice.

  12. L.Long says:

    AC & Mike you seem to have missed the part about halal& kosher killing! She is so awful! And a fox would what!?!?!?!?
    Yes what she is doing is awful and stoopid! And the slaughter rituals of the jews and muslins are OK??????

  13. Trevor Blake says:

    Her religion is real enough to merit legal protection, but not real enough to avoid legal attention. Just like all the rest. Pathetic.

  14. Robster says:

    Which one’s the chicken, above?