The Point: Animal Rights or Religious Freedom?

PLAY

Listen on your podcast App

Get your daily four-minute dose of sanity on the Breakpoint Podcast plus teaching, interviews, and more.

Listen on your podcast App

In Belgium, animal-rights activists are celebrating new laws that require meat processors to stun animals before slaughtering them.

But this means that Jews and Muslims can no longer follow their religious dietary laws as they dispatch their dinner, since these require that an animal not be harmed prior to slaughter.

The Belgian Federation of Jewish Organizations is challenging the new law in court, insisting that “The politicians are not there to define what is permitted and not permitted under religious law.”

But the law’s supporters argue that the law applies to “each and every single Belgian citizen period, whatever his religious beliefs may be.”

Any of this sound familiar? Well, it should. As a result of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Employment Division v. Smith, laws that a) don’t target religion and b) are generally applicable to all citizens, are perfectly constitutional. Which means the Belgian law would probably pass muster here.

It’s an ominous and stunning reminder (pardon the pun) how vulnerable religious freedom truly is.

 

Download MP3 Audio Here

Resources

Animal slaughter ruling in Belgium stirs religious freedom debate
  • Veronica Zaragovia
  • Al Jazeera
  • September 08, 2019

Comment Policy: Commenters are welcome to argue all points of view, but they are asked to do it civilly and respectfully. Comments that call names, insult other people or groups, use profanity or obscenity, repeat the same points over and over, or make personal remarks about other commenters will be deleted. After multiple infractions, commenters may be banned.