Towers of Silence for Parsis living in the USA
Traditional Zoroastrian funerals require stone structures called Dakhmas — “Towers of Silence” — on which corpses are eaten by buzzards, because the Zoroastrian holy text bans other funeral methods.
Excarnatory funeral practices are classified as criminal “Abuse of Corpse” by many state statutes and constitute a misdemeanor to felony offense, thus making traditional Zoroastrian funerals illegal for the 11,000 Zoroastrians in the U.S.
The illegality forces Zoroastrian-Americans to transport their dead overseas which can be prohibitively expensive or to have funerals against their religious mandate.
In a recent scholarly legal article published in the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion — titled: “Buried, Cremated, Defleshed by Buzzards?” — I analogized the Supreme Court case Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, noting that Zoroastrianism and the Santeria religion both mandate practices involving dead bodies of people and animals. Employing the decision in that case, I argued that traditional…
View original post 417 more words