Santería is a newly recognized religion within the United States. Many Americans who practice more traditional religions, such as Catholicism, and Judaism, find the practice of Santeria very odd and quite obscure. The preponderance of our society feels that the practice of animal sacrifice, prevalent in Santeria, is immoral and possibly offensive. One reason for this reaction could be that there is a major lack of understanding of this religion in our society.
Many people that do not practice this religion automatically assume that the religion is some sort of horrible cult in which people simply slaughter animals. In interviews with people that live near the Lukumí Babalú Ayé Church, published in The Miami Herald, terrible remarks have been made concerning the religion and its practices in our community. One unnamed gentleman, who has spent five years living in the community where the church exists, says "It bothers me to have it here, I'm definitely against it" (May). Many people have similar opinions to this one because they assume that the practice of Santería is all bad. Perhaps they simply are not aware of the facts about the religion.
Assumptions may be made and blame placed on the church for events that happen in the community. In one situation, a man living near the aforementioned church states, "I don't like the idea of animal sacrifices; that should have gone out with the Middle Ages. If my dog disappears, I'll know where he's gone" (May 1). This statement shows how people assume problems with the church, without respecting the rituals practiced by the followers. Ernesto Pichardo, the president of the Lukumí Babalú Ayé Church, replies to that man's remark by saying, "If the dog is missing, please don't blame us. We certainly don't use pets" (May). According to another disgruntled church neighbor, "I'm gonna bitch like hell, if it starts to smell over there. We'll call the Health Department" (Morcate).
Based on the previous...