In my latest column I discuss a Native American tribe that was issued a permit to kill two bald eagles for use in religious ceremonies.
I aim to convey a simple lesson, that is, we ARE NOT required to respect the beliefs of other human beings. We are required to respect the RIGHT of a human being to maintain his or her own set of beliefs. This is an important distinction. Let me know what you think (especially of the last paragraph in my column).
Brian T. Murphy
Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
This recent news story angers me. Individuals, not groups, should have certain rights but to kill based on irrational, primitive beliefs is just wrong- it’s not rational or reasonable. The question is how should the law deal with this? I can understand killing animals for food and clothing as a means of survival and recreation but this isn’t the case at all. Why are we protecting the eagles in the first place? If the ban on hunting is a logical, fact based law why would we make an exception for the weakest, most irrational reason imaginable? In that case, secular hunters should have a greater reason and privilege to hunt the eagles as well.
Being ignorant and mystical should not be a basis for granting special privileges and rights. The real culprit here is the concept of ‘Group Rights’ that is destroying the principals our country was based on. Once you acknowledge that groups (ethnic, religious, sexual, etc.) have rights, you open the flood gates for insanity. Also, reparations is a immoral, illogical basis for granting group rights. No individual should benefit or receive special rights because ancestors were denied certain rights in the past. An individual is an individual. There is no mystical, spiritual blood connection between family members that should grant them extra rights. (Laws respecting ‘sacred burial grounds’ are equally wrong!) Of course, our country is now plagued with ‘unlawful’ and subjective laws and there is no end in sight as legislators come up with new insane regulations on a daily basis.