Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Albert Wuaku

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Carlton Waterhouse

Third Advisor's Name

Lesley A. Northup

Date of Defense



This thesis attempted to explain society's worldview of Santeria and its practice of animal sacrifice, and the breakdown between the federal and local government after a 1993 Supreme Court ruling affirming their right to engage in this sacred ritual. Santeria practitioners are harassed and prosecuted for exercising their right to practice animal sacrifice. The research was intended to present the cosmology of the Lukumi tradition, the intellectual framework explored, a review of Freedom of Religion and the case of Lukumi v. Hialeah, and finally the media's role in shaping the worldview of Santeria that have perpetuated this breakdown. The thesis consisted of 87 research items, a community survey, interviews, a Santeria divination, and review of case law, books,
newspaper and online journals. These findings demonstrated that freedom of religion is not so free in the U.S., and exists only to the extent the media and municipal laws choose to allow.



Included in

Religion Commons



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