As Donny “Easy D” Trump’s shameless corruption and ham-fisted international spy games implode into an epic sinkhole of scandal, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate that it all started thanks to a 1993 Supreme Court decision upholding the legality of animal sacrifice in Santería rituals. But before you go sharpening your machete, we’re not talking about the sacrifices themselves, but rather the legal precedent set by the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah case that was invoked by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn DJT’s Muslim travel ban.
So what’s the connection? Well, in citing the decision the 9th circuit noted that a court may actually consider evidence “beyond the face of the challenged law in evaluating Establishment and Equal Protection Law claims” – which means that Donaldo’s brazenly anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric was admissible in considering the true intentions of the executive order.
Of course, the case in question had little to do with Islamophobia or executive overreach, but it was a pretty clear-cut instance of religious discrimination on the part of Miami-area lawmakers. The hubbub all started when members of an Afro-Cuban religious group tried to purchase a used-car lot in Hialeah in order to turn it into a place of worship. Local residents were scandalized, and the city council responded by affirming that it would “not tolerate religious practices which are abhorrent to its citizens.”
Yet, when the law was ultimately passed, it came dressed up as an innocuous public health and safety bill broadly outlawing animal sacrifice. Conveniently scrubbed from the language were the open calls from the City Council president to “prevent that church from opening,” and city lawmakers defended their decision as a mere effort to enforce established standards. Yet members of the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye weren’t ready to give up their constitutional rights so easily, and after a federal district judge shot down their case, the church took their petition all the way to the Supreme Court.
Ultimately, the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye won by unanimous decision and secured the rights of traditionally marginalized Afro-American religions across the United States – but it seems they their well earned legal victory had some extra ache after it came back around this month to put our clown prince in his place.