“Say What” was my reaction when I first came across the news article that announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on March 9, 2012 had granted a permit to allow the killing or capture and release of two bald eagles this year.
I mean, is someone at the Fish and Wildlife Service off their rocker? Surely no red-blooded American would even contemplate the killing of our beloved symbol of majestic strength, grace and freedom.
Well, oddly enough, it is perhaps the a true red-blooded American who in fact sought this official permit from the US Government to allow the very act that will likely lead to the death of two bald eagles.
The true American that I speak of is the Northern Arapaho Native Indian Tribe from central Wyoming. It is important to note, although I am still not comforted by the fact, that the taking of the Bald Eagles is for ceremonial purposes.
In other words, the Northern Arpaho tribe basically argued that the existing prohibition against the killing of the bald eagle violated their constitutional right of Religious Freedom.
Let me the first to admit that I am not a scholar of the US Constitution. Sure, I had to study it in law school and it was the bar exam. None the less, I don’t think you need to be ivory tower gent to recognize that religious freedom should not be without limitations. Even for those who were here first.
What next? The Incas practiced human sacrifice… any modern day Incas out there? Better yet, just tell the “po po” that the peyote in your possession is for religious ceremonies.
Religious Freedoms are a slippery slope. Allowing the Northern Arapaho to kill even two bald eagles under the guise of religious freedom is bound to bring even other more unsavory requests. What is illegal should be illegal for all of us.
Religion should have no preference. Beyond that, isn’t it obvious that you just don’t kill the American Bald Eagle?
What say you?
Legal blogs are a form of informational advertising and should not be taken as legal advice. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this topic and/or another legal matter.
William R. Joherl, Esq.
Image: Tina Phillips / FreeDigitalPhotos.net