A federal court has ruled in favor of the state of Michigan and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a case alleging that rules requiring farmers to tag their livestock for identification in order to help identify and prevent the spread of disease violated the religious liberty of farmers who think such tags constitute the “mark of the beast.”
I’m still trying to figure out just how warped your interpretation of the Bible has to be in order to equate livestock tags to the mark of the beast. And I’m also curious as to how people that obviously fucked in the head can manage to run a farm. How do they manage to put on pants in the morning, for that matter?
But that’s not the scariest thing. What frightens the fuck out of me is the fact that, if the Feds hadn’t made this program voluntary (states get to decide whether or not they want to make the use of such a simple and obvious disease-fighting step mandatory), these frothing fundies might have actually prevailed on such idiotic grounds:
On the causes of action against the MDA [Michigan Department of Agriculture], which is the agency that made the tagging mandatory on all farmers in the state and specified the use of RFID tags in order to help eradicate the incidence of bovine tuberculosis, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the state because neither law identified by the plaintiffs as grounds for the allegations applies to the states.
The plaintiffs alleged a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law that requires that exemptions be granted from laws that impose an “undue burden” on the religious liberty of an individual or group unless the state can show a compelling interest in imposing the law in each individual circumstance and of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). [emphasis incredulously added]
But the federal courts have ruled that neither RFRA nor NEPA are legally applicable to state actions, so once the USDA was dismissed from the case those laws could not be used to overturn state actions that were not explicitly required by federal law.
Really not liking the implication that some religious freak with a reading comprehension problem might be able to defeat efforts to protect the public health. But at least the district court made the right call in this case.
I shall have to make it to Michigan to enjoy a satanic cow dinner one of these days. You should come, too. In the meantime, enjoy some more Bruce Dickinson: