Question: Members of the tiny Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye

Members of the tiny Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye in the Florida city of Hialeah practice a religion that involves the sacrifice of live animals such as pigeons, chickens, goats and lambs to commune with the "orishas" or spirits. The religion of Santeria-"the way of the saints"-originated in West Africa. When they were brought to Cuba as slaves, the Yoruba people blended their beliefs with some Roman Catholic practices. Nearly 70,000 Cuban-Americans in south Florida practice Santeria, as do people in other cities across the United States.
When the Church of Lukum Babalu Aye decided to establish a house of worship and other facilities in Hialeah in 1987, the city council held an emergency session. It issued new zoning laws that banned animal sacrifices inside city limits. The new laws specifically banned the killing of animals for ritual purposes. They exempted the killing of animals for food; for pest control; during hunting, trapping and fishing seasons; for medical research; and by animal shelters for purposes of population control. The church sued, claiming its religious freedoms had been violated by the new zoning laws.
Before the Court:
Argued on November 4, 1992
Decided on June 11, 1993

Key Question:
May a city constitutionally enact ordinances that are designed to prohibit certain religious practices?
1. What was the CENTRAL ISSUE in this case?
To assist you: Read the Key Question and restate the central idea in a single sentence.
2. What did the party claiming RELIGIOUS FREEDOM argue?
3. What was the main argument AGAINST THE FREE EXERCISE position?
4. In summary, what CONFLICTING VALUES did your case pose?
To assist you: Values are concepts that individuals hold dear, such as patriotism, pacifism and religious doctrines and practices.
5. What was your DECISION about the case?
6. What argument(s) seem(s) MOST PERSUASIVE in leading you to decide as you did?

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