Moa Wild Chicken
It is my personal belief that the right to perform or act within my chosen religion extends only as far as your right to perform or act within your chosen religion (or non-religion). The boundaries in which I may express and celebrate and participate in my religion does not extend beyond the point at which I would be doing harm, or inflicting pain, on another non-consenting human being - to you, a friend, family member, or my own baby or child.
People across the nation are up in arms about a Pennsylvania woman who forced her 7 year old daughter to observe a bloody religious ritual in New Jersey. According to the Associated Press, she has been sentenced to 18 months probation for the May 2007 ordeal.
Passaic County prosecutors say Yenitza Colichon of Jamesburg, PA, was about to start Army basic training and wanted to protect her daughter in the Palo Mayombe religion before she left. It is a religion that originated in central Africa, and one that the Colichon family observed. As part of the religious practices, Colichon had her daughter watch an initiation rite in Paterson, NJ, that included a chicken sacrifice, and feeding the girl the chicken's heart.
The girl later told her school teacher that she was having nightmares and child welfare officials were contacted. Colichon recently plead guilty to child neglect and cruelty charges.
What is interesting here is the ubiquitousness with which onlookers are cheering the system for punishing Colichon - for simply following her own religious tradition of blood sacrifice that includes her minor child... And yet we continue to be ashamed to speak up about our own blood sacrifices performed on the bodies of U.S. born babies every day in this nation -- those which usually take place with no religious justification at all.
How can we continue on this plight of hypocrisy and ignorance? To shed the blood of a chicken, and force a child to take part, may be despicable and disrespectful of that child's wellbeing. But isn't it equally (or more-so) despicable and disrespectful to shed the blood of a child, and force that small, defenseless human being to take part in a blood letting cutting ritual? Where are those criminal charges?
Before we jump all over yet another African religion being practiced on U.S. soil, why not turn our attention to our own barbaric traditions and first do no harm to our own children. Stop cutting babies.
Research U.S. forms of genital cutting, the prepuce organ (amputated in U.S. style MGM), and the benefits of keeping children intact through resources (books, sites, articles) at: Are You Fully Informed?
Looking into the origins of U.S. style blood sacrifice on children? Marked in Your Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America is an excellent and thorough scholarly account on the religious history of genital cutting as we know it today.
Additional reports on the Colichon case:
New Jersey Real Time News