Opinion: Religion and tribal rights with permit to take eagles

"The Obama administration encountered spirited resistance for its alleged indifference to the free exercise of religion when it proposed to require that all institutions, including those affiliated with churches, provide contraception as part of their health plans.

On the other hand, last week the administration issued to the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming a federal permit to kill two bald eagles, whose feathers and other body parts are highly prized by the tribe for use in religious ceremonies.

Back when bald eagles were plentiful — as many as half a million lived in North America in the 18th century — American Indians trapped and killed eagles freely. Many tribes used eagle feathers and other body parts in sacred ceremonies and prayers. Honors were bestowed by the gift of an eagle feather; in some Indian high schools today, graduation is marked by the awarding of an eagle feather."

Get the Story:
John M. Crisp: Freedom of religion vs. the eagles' right to life (The Middletown Times Herald-Record 3/21)

Related Stories:
Bald eagle found near DC train station ends up in repository (3/19)
Mediaite: Comedian backs tribe's right to take bald eagles (3/15)
Northern Arapaho Tribe receives permit to take bald eagles (3/14)

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