Venezuela folk religion seen in secretive rituals

Maria Lionza Thousands of Venezuelans congregated for candlelit rituals on a remote mountainside where adherents make an annual pilgrimage to pay homage to an indigenous goddess known as Maria Lionza.

Some calling themselves the “Vikings” pricked their tongues with razor blades, drawing blood that ran down their chins and chests. They said they could not reveal the esoteric secrets that govern their traditions.

Lawyer: Why I Defend Goat Sacrifice

Religious Freedom Last week the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court’s ruling, paving the way for a Santeria priest in Euless, Texas, to resume goat sacrifices as part of religious ceremonies.

His lawyer tells the Wall Street Journal why he choose to represent the priest in court.

Santeria priest can resume goat sacrifices in his Texas home

Santeria priest Jose Merced The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a district court’s ruling, paving the way for a Santeria priest in Euless to resume goat sacrifices as part of religious ceremonies.

Euless’ attorney, William “Mick” McKamie, said he plans to file a motion for a rehearing. City officials have said animal sacrifices jeopardize public health and violate Euless’ slaughterhouse and animal-cruelty ordinances.

Court hears Texas case over Santeria animal sacrifices

Santeria priest Jose Merced A Santeria priest who sued a Texas city for denying him permission to sacrifice a goat as part of a religious ceremony asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to let him resume the ritual in his home.

“In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously found unconstitutional a city ban on killing ‘an animal in a public or private ritual or ceremony not for the primary purpose of food consumption.’ We are pretty sure the Constitution still applies in Texas,” says Eric Rassbach, of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. [video]

Investigators close case after experts doubt woman’s voodoo abduction story

voodo Michelle Wood said she was attacked by members of a voodoo group when she refused to participate in drug use and devil worship in a ceremony related to the autumnal equinox.

But cult experts said Wood’s story didn’t line up with known voodoo practices.

Woman says she was kidnapped and beaten by Santeria voodo group

Santeria Voodoo A woman found beaten and lying on the side of U.S. 1 in St. Johns County told deputies she ended up that way after a voodoo ceremony in Flagler County related to the autumnal equinox.

Michelle Rene Wood, 42, of Palm Coast was found covered in blood with both eyes swollen shut early Monday, according to a St. Johns County sheriff’s report. A rope was tied around her right wrist and a bungee cord around her left ankle, the report states.

Santeria priest ready for fight with Florida city

A nationally recognized Santeria priest has engaged an attorney in his battle with Coral Gables, Florida, after police there interrupted a ceremony with animal sacrifices at a home last summer.

THE SUPREME COURT: Animal Sacrifice; Court, Citing Religious Freedom, Voids a Ban on Animal Sacrifices

The Supreme Court ruled today that a Florida city’s ban on ritual animal sacrifice violated the religious freedom of the followers of an Afro-Cuban religion in which the sacrifice of animals plays a central role.
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