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Religion, Social Norms and the State – The 2014 Letter of the Sacerdotes Mayores de Ifa of Cuba[i]

For the last two years I have written about the annual letter of the Cuban Council of the High Priests of Ifá (Consejo Cubano De Sacerdotes Mayores De Ifá), the practitioners of traditional religion brought over from West Africa with the slave trade and now naturalized as a powerful indigenous religion throughout the Caribbean and growing in the United States. (e.g., Religion, Social Norms, and the State--The 2013 Letter of the Sacerdotes Mayores de Ifá of Cuba, Law at the End of the Day, Jan. 2, 2013; Religion, Social Norms, and the State--The 2012 Letter of the Sacerdotes Mayores de Ifá of Cuba, Law at the End of the Day, Jan. 3, 2012). The Consejo Cubano De Sacerdotes Mayores De Ifá just released their annual letter for 2014; Letra del Año 2014 (On the history and purpose of the letter in Nigeria and the New World).  These annual letters suggest  the nature of divine will and advice for a propitious year ahead.  It serves the Cuban State (and its society) the way all priestly interventions are meant to - advice, connect with the divine, and an authoritative means of conveying the appropriate forms of responding to events. Because these indigenous religions ought to be accorded equal dignity with the religions brought to the United States by other immigrant communities, I thought it useful, as we contemplate the New Year's messages of the world's religious leaders (e.g., Message of HIs Holiness Francis for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 1 Jan 2014 ("it is easy to realize that fraternity is the foundation and pathway of peace.")), that we ought to heed these messages as well.

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