Halalalala La La La La

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Memo to the Audience: I APOLOGIZE FOR THE OUTAGE.

Normally, I wouldn't take Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday off from writing the column, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I'm afraid it was necessary. You see, the turkey at the traditional homestead Thanksgiving meal turned out to be a Butterball.

No, it wasn't salmonella, or e coli, or any of the other byproducts of industrial meat production that kept me out of action over the long weekend. It's just that, unbeknownst to me, Butterball turkeys are halal, and having accidentally eaten halal meat, I spent the long weekend being accidentally Muslim. The good news is, because I didn't have seconds, it only took me a few days to return to the God-and-Allah-disbelieving atheist you all know and love, but it was rough for a while there.

On the upside, the street I live on runs east-west, so while I may not have been facing strictly towards Mecca, and was probably praying to Amsterdam, I figured it was close enough for poultry-induced religion. But it was the five times a day thing that really threw me. I haven't done ANYTHING five times a day since I was a teenager. Hate their religion if you must, but you've got to respect their time management.

And speaking of hating their religion, I have to give belated thanks to America's leading flickering light from a burning cross, Pamela Gellar, without whom I would have spent days as a Muslim and not even known it. It was Gellar, at the always ironically-named American Thinker blog, who alerted the world to Butterball's secretly halal turkeys. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"In a little-known strike against freedom, yet again, we are being forced into consuming meat slaughtered by means of a torturous method: Islamic slaughter. Halal slaughter involves cutting the trachea, the esophagus, and the jugular vein, and letting the blood drain out while saying "Bismillah allahu akbar" -- in the name of Allah the greatest."

How barbaric and torturous! Cutting the animal's neck and letting it bleed to death is much more torturous than the Jewish method of cutting the animal's neck and letting it bleed to death, or the conservative Christian method of cutting the turkey's Social Security and Medicare benefits until it slowly deteriorates in a run-down studio apartment.

But even if the halal slaughter method were somehow just as humane as any other, and Pam Gellar were just labeling it as brutal and torturous because she's so completely bugfuck about Islam that nearly half of the commenters on American Thinker thought she had gone crazy overboard on the whole turkey thing, there would still be a problem. Consent.

"Non-Muslims in America and Europe don't deserve to have halal turkey forced upon them in this way, without their knowledge or consent. So this Thanksgiving, fight for your freedom. Find a non-halal, non-Butterball turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday. And write to Butterball and request, politely but firmly, that they stop selling only halal turkeys, and make non-halal turkeys available to Americans who still value our freedoms."

Yes. Exactly. Any time an arbitrary, benign religious practice is forced upon the general public, it is an assault on American freedom! Remember that the next time you're not working on a Sunday, not working on a Saturday, passing through and/or living in a dry county, not being able to get gay-married, or voting in the House of Representatives to reaffirm that America's official motto is "In God We Trust".

You know why Butterball turkeys are halal? The same reason a lot of other things are halal and kosher. It's very easy for the companies involved to tweak its production methods (if they have to at all) to meet the loose definitions of an ancient text (and its interpretations by modern theologians in regards to how it applies to poultry processing machinery). That's why.

I mean, this is American factory poultry we're talking about. These are companies who aren't particularly interested in making the effort to keep you, the consumer, from dying in scattered handfuls as a result of bacteriological infection. Do you really think they're going to drastically adjust their practices to include another couple of percent of the population? No. Which means whatever's involved in making these turkeys halal, I guarantee you it costs about a tenth of a penny per turkey and uses the existing infrastructure.

Which means that for all practical intents and purposes, the difference between a halal turkey and a good, old-fashioned Christian turkey is microscopic, and the only reason to worry yourself about halal-certified meat is if you're an insane, hateful bigot.