Time magazine just claimed: “Denmark enacted a sweeping ban on the religious slaughter of animals in 2014, prompting a furious backlash from Jewish and Muslim community representatives.” (read the article here)
Denmark hasn’t ritually slaughtered animals for a long time. There are no kosher slaughter houses in Denmark which has a mere 6,000 Jews who import their kosher foods. So expect to hear lazy commentators claim this is all much ado about nothing. The Danish press gives the impression that impassioned, irrational religious people who just won’t assimilate are squawking again. But if it was much ado about nothing why bother forbidding kosher and halal slaughtering at all? If it’s no big deal, why make a big deal of it?
Because it is about something; it is about a people in need of justifying themselves as progressive and moral. When a people reject the moral law of God, they must replace it with an arbitrary ethical imposition. Denmark has euthanasia and physician assisted suicide problems but rather than deal with the cruelty to humans and involuntary euthanasia, it agonizes over the slaughter of kosher animals and thedocking of pigs’ tails.
It’s about arrogance. The Danish Minister of Food and Agriculture, a 40 year old Social Democrat named Dan Jorgensen, Jorgensen explained the ban on Danish television by saying “animal rights come before religion” – or, according to another translation, “animal rights precede religious rights.” In September of 2013 Pope Francis asked for an investigation into similar laws in Poland.
The next step will be to forbid circumcision of infant males as a form of child abuse. Catholic teaching doesn’t command kosher or circumcision. But it does require defense of religious liberty. Even in the New Testament, however, St. Paul informs us that circumcision and dietary laws were an important part of Jewish identity. They serve as boundary markers between the Jews and the world. Circumcision, however, is central to Jewish identity. Jewish theologian Michael Wyschogrod author of The Body of Faith: God and the People of Israel writes:
“There is a requirement for the sanctification of human existence in all of its aspects. Israel’s symbol of the covenant is circumcision, a searing of the covenant into the flesh of Israel and not only, or perhaps not even primarily, into its spirit. And that is why God’s election is of a carnal people. By electing the seed of Abraham, God creates a people that is in his service in the totality of its human being and not just in its moral and spiritual existence.”
This is about religious identity and the drive of secular governments to abolish distinctions among their citizens. Ultimately, Caesar wants your allegiance and doesn’t well tolerate any competitor. For the most part, secularists are tone deaf to the cries of religious minorities. Unsympathetic to religious concerns, these secular elites regard dietary laws and Sabbaths and circumcisions as bizarre residual practices of an ignorant and barbaric age. This enables them to feel a moral superiority which emboldens them to crush the religious liberties of these minority groups.
In James Kalb’s The Tyranny of Liberalism, the argument is made that liberalism is an expression of the interests and outlook of commercial and managerial elites, who are suspicious of less rationalized and controllable forms of social organization like the family and religious communities. Just because the family and religious communities resist the interests of technological and commercial elites and their demand for efficiency and conformity, they become targets of opposition to these elites. They must be eliminated or kept entirely private. Watch this dynamic unfold in America as opposition to same sex so-called marriage becomes the pretext for removing tax exemption or FCC licensing or contracts with state organizations for services like adoption or drug rehab. The aim will be to marginalize those who believe that same sex so-called marriage ultimately is a violation of nature and Nature’s God.