Queer I Stand
Late to the Feast
That's often the insidious thing about human sacrifice: it still goes on to the present day, it's just not called "human sacrifice" nor is it recognized as such. And no, I don't mean the specter of "ritual murders" (which usually have no basis in fact whatsoever) that remains to this very day amongst some deluded monotheists, nor do I mean strange customs of obscure tribes in third-world countries and secluded tropical islands.
No, we don't send twelve-to-eighteen-year-old children to a central capital city to fight for their lives after a lottery. But, we do send eighteen-year-olds into combat in other countries, and they are often people who have enlisted in the armed forces not because they wanted to go and fight wars or even serve their country, but because they are dirt poor, or come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and the only viable option for them is to trade their life and health and bodily integrity to their government for a paycheck, and the possibility of education and future employment (the latter two things of which often don't come about, for various reasons).
The reasons that wars are being fought these days aren't necessarily for the safety of the United States, though certain factions in the government would like us to believe that. We often pay lip-service to the "sacrifice" that our service members make, whether they serve without major injury or death or not, and yet we do not class this as "human sacrifice." It's just as much human sacrifice as any lurid scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom -- and the latter at least has the decency to declare its purposes explicitly, rather than skirting around the issue that people's lives are being offered up on an altar of warfare with no prayers, little thanksgiving for their sacrifice, and for benefits that do not accrue to the community-at-large.
Much more could be said on this subject, and on the innumerable other ways that human sacrifice occurs without recognition of it as such (particularly in certain religious contexts), but I think I'll leave it there for the moment.
May the odds be ever in your favor . . .
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is a metagender and a founding member of the Ekklesía Antínoou (a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist religious group dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and other related gods and divine figures). E is a contributing member of Neos Alexandria and a Celtic Reconstructionist pagan in the filidecht and gentlidecht traditions. Follow Lupus' work on the Aedicula Antinoi blog.