This weekend, millions of animals will die in the name of God. Or Allah. Or whatever you call him, or her, or it.
Why is God so bloodthirsty this weekend, you ask? Muslims and Jews are both celebrating major holidays that include ritual sacrifice of animals.
On October 4th, Muslims will begin the celebration of Eid Al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, a three-day celebration at the end of Hajj. During Eid Al-adha, those who can afford to do so will slaughter an animal. The family will eat one-third of the meat, one-third will be given to friends or neighbors, and one-third goes to the poor.
According to the Turkish Union of Agricultural Chambers, or TZOB, over 3 million animals will be slaughtered during the holiday.
And while Muslims celebrate the end of the Hajj, Jews will celebrate Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur begins today, and ends tomorrow evening. During this day of atonement, the faithful will swing live chickens over the heads of other faithful, transferring sins from the person to the chicken. Then they’ll slaughter the chickens and give them to the poor.
And it’s not just the fact that the celebrations themselves are so bloody and gruesome, but just last year, 2000 chickens died while confined to cages in the heat before Yom Kippur began.
Now before you Christians get all high and mighty and proclaim that YOUR religion doesn’t engage in such atrocities, remember that you’ll be responsible for the deaths of millions of turkeys to celebrate the birth of your savior. In the UK alone, almost 7 million turkeys are slaughtered for Christmas feasts, and another 22 million will be killed in the US. Just because you don’t kill the animal yourself doesn’t mean you’re not complicit in its’ death.
I know its dangerous territory to talk against a religious ritual. But honestly, who wants to eat a chicken full of somebody else’s sins? And mass slaughter of animals cannot be sanitary. Does God forgive you if, along with your gift of meat, you give the poor salmonella, E. coli, or listeria?
Listen, if you really want to help the poor, how about giving them something that could actually help them? A live animal would go much further to raise a person out of poverty. And money is always nice. Despite what vitriolic politicians in the US would like for you to believe, most poor people are not lazy and sucking government resources dry.
But I guess you’ll keep on doing what you’ve already done, because somebody said that’s what God wants.
Just one more reason why me and God don’t get along.