Religious freedom vs health concerns



“Inhaling the smoke during the smudging can aggravate any respiratory condition. Wait until the smoke clears before going into the room.”

R E L I G I O U S  F R E E D O M  O R  S E L F  I N D U L G E N C E ?

In this age of self isolation and spatial awareness we are all trying to be on good terms with our neighbors and avoid any and all face-to-face situations that might jeopardize life and limb of all parties concerned.

However situations develop ( innocently or not) that force a person to take a stand and voice his/her displeasure with a “religious” practice that affects the health of third parties.

My neighbor is a senior aboriginal female who has recently started the practice of smudging her main floor suite on a weekly basis.

The lingering aroma of whatever she is burning to cleanse her suite is akin to marijuana and eventually as the smoke leaves her suite it manages to enter my own living quarters  on the third floor via the bathroom exhaust fan.

At times the aroma is negligible but last night the odor was noticeably over whelming. Breathing this scent irritated my lungs. To resolve the issue the fans in both bathrooms were turn on for five hours and the stench was still detectable.

I have spoken to this woman on a number of occasions and she told me that burning this material protects her from the COVID 19 virus and its deadly effects. She truly believe that nd insists that the virus is a “white man’s” dilemma and not her own. 

From what I have observed she does not wear a mask when she goes out,, has large fmaily gathering at ther suite and does not observe social distancing. 

You cannot fault her for her religious beliefs but I can raise an issue with the fact that the smoke from ger suite is cleansing her lungs but jeopardizing my own.

So I contacted the rental office and explained the situation. The female rep I spoke with told me that the woman is merely “practicing” her religious freedom and that she will again talk to the woman about the situation.

I offered a practical solution: replace the current plastic exhaust fans in the bathrooms with a unit that has blades that manually open and close. This in my opinion might resolve the issue.

As a band aid fix I taped a large sized plastic freezer bag over the exhaust fan in the smaller bathroom and hope that this will provide sufficient protection before the next cleansing ritual occurs.

Monday morning the site’s maintenance repair man will visit the suite and discuss ways we might be able to mitigate the problem. I do not hold out much hope for a workable solution. When I lived on the main floor of this building management tried to end a mouse invasion in my unit. There solution fell short. Me solution: move to a third floor unit.

The opening video explains what smudging is all about. Smudging might work better in a private residence where you can cleanse with the smoke and then open the windows to get rid of the smoke from the entire home.

If you have any comments on what I should do then please feel free to voice your ideas here.

Being politically correct and not wanting to confront an important concern is not the way to ensure your tenants’ health and safety.




  1. Unfortunately for some it is as if someone is smoking cigarettes inside and it is coming up in the vents. Does she open her windows after? That is a hard one because you are going up against religious practice which gets tricky. The only other thing you can do is contact your state dept. of health and see if they have any regulatory stuff that you might be able to use in your defense.


    • Thank you for your advice. I sent my website article to the site rental office here. I wrote a short note with it indicating that I will contact the local health authority and see what they suggest. Management here is walking a fine line but keeping their head in the ground like an ostrich is not the answer. Be safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good luck. I can’t imagine the health department saying it is okay that smoke is coming through your vent. Worst case scenario for the management is they have to change all the fans and vents. It would be easier to tell the woman to stop with the mojo stuff. That is bad, I realize it is her religion but I think some people go a bit overboard with what religion means.


        • I think the management here likes the “keep that Mojo working” system instead of facing the causes of problems. There was one neighbor who every Saturday afternoon “faithfully” crossed the street to a local schoolyard and slit a chicken’s throat to honor his religion. I like chicken but not in that manner.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I bought a large air purifier with filter at Costco for my housekeeper whose husband is on dialysis and therefore very vulnerable to germs. They decided not to use it but had thrown the receipt away–which I had given for them to keep for warranty purposes– and so I couldn’t return it, so I kept it. On occasions when there are brush fires in the mountains behind my house or when our neighborhood skunk wanders all the way around my house, filling it with his odor before I can get all the doors and windows closed, I’ve found that it works quickly to get rid of all the odors. It might be worth your while to invest in one. Mine is a Winix Plasmawave.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s