Euless Offers Settlement in Santeria Case

March 21, 2007


Source: The Dallas Morning News

A Santeria priest who is suing Euless over his religious practice of animal sacrifice would be allowed to kill chickens and hold small weekly gatherings at his home under a settlement offered by city attorneys.

But the proposal would continue to prohibit the sacrifice of goats--a practice that Jose Merced says is as essential to Santeria as communion is to Catholics. And it would limit the gatherings to 25 people.

Mr. Merced said he will reject the city's offer as a restriction on his religious freedom.

"You cannot do initiations without an animal with four legs. You cannot do it with just chickens," he said. "Without that, the religion ceases to exist."

Euless' attorney, William McKamie, did not return a call for comment. But the settlement letter said the remedies had been made to remove any substantial burden on Mr. Merced's free exercise of religion.