Rev. Lloyd Plumbar, a Lousiana pastor, is claiming in federal court that a ban on cockfighting in Lousiana is against his religion.
We kid you not. We first read about Plumbar’s lawsuit at the Unfriendly Athiest site. This isn’t satire.
Plumbar is suing authorities for arresting him on the way to a “spiritual cockfight.” The pastor claims that the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office violated his freedom of religion, which involves the tradition of pitting specially-bred fighting chickens against one another.
You can see the court document below and access it here.
This was definitely a situation that PNP news wanted to cover, if no other reason than the sheer curiosity of wondering if Plumbar was a sincere adherent to cock-fighting religion or perhaps just an underground cockfighter using religion to get out of legal jeopardy.
It turns out, Rev. Plumbar is very, very sincere about cock-fighting.
Plumbar explained to PNP News that he viewed cockfighting as a spiritual metaphor for the spiritual battle between God’s people and adversity. And according to Plumbar, lots of people around the world understand the metaphor.
The Reverend explained, “[The religious metaphor] relates to cockfighting because of the physical act of the birds fighting, the meaning behind it, and what we get out of it. It’s up to the individual basically in where they are in their life to be saved [sic]. We’re all God’s children and trying to do right and sometimes that’s a fight.”
He then added, “We kind of view ourselves as God’s little gamecocks.”
We kind of view ourselves as God’s little gamecocks
Plumbar added, “If he gave us a spirit to fight and we worship him through that fight it glorifies him. The cocks are a type of Christ; there’s bloodshed and a physical fight manifested in a spiritual way.“
PNP News asked Plumbar if cockfighting was a cultural aspect of African American culture (like dogfighting reportedly is), but the African American preacher said, “It’s more of a rural thing than a black thing, and those raised around chickens understand it. And it’s worldwide. They get it in other countries, like in Nepal and Thailand.”
Plumbar asserted that the government had no business telling people they couldn’t cockfight because religious liberties are inviolable. He said, “If somebody has a sincerely held religious belief, who is to tell them they can’t observe it? We have freedom of religion.”
However, when asked if his church shut down for COVID-19 on account of the government’s orders, Plumbar said, “We shut down everything. We’re still shut down.”
Plumbar says that the creation mandate of Genesis 1:26 gives man dominion over all the Earth and everything in it. While true – and while PNP News supports the mass-production of edible birds on factory farms if for no other reason than to drive Karen Swallow Prior crazy – the Bible might give insight on the subject of entertainment-driven animal cruelty elsewhere.
Deuteronomy 22:6 issues a civil code forbidding the reckless taking of a bird’s life (for the purpose of conservation), chiefly not taking a bird who is caring for the young. However, fighting birds are cocks, after all…so maybe it doesn’t apply.
But maybe Matthew 10:29 speaks to the issue. Jesus said that the Father even cares for the sparrow, although they are worth but a farthing. Certainly, a chicken is worth two or three.
Then again, a fine of a few farthings is probably a more just punishment than arrest for watching a couple of birds fight to the death.
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