Everywhere we traveled in India, they were there—in the streets, on the sidewalks, even in the shops. Bovines—sacred cows.

They’re part of the landscape in urban India. Though we found their presence peculiar, the locals were obviously accustomed to them. The people didn’t seem to necessarily like them or touch them. They just let them wander, and avoided interfering with them.

If anyone hits or hurts a sacred cow, it’s serious trouble. You’ll be fined and perhaps jailed.

Observing these sacred cows brought to mind a number of characteristics that may go beyond India. See what you think.

• Sacred cows become obstacles and impede progress.
• Sacred cows confuse the uninitiated.
• People forget why the cows are sacred.
• Sacred cows are immune to criticism.
• Sacred cows leave a mess behind.
• Sacred cows are idols.

So, I began to jot down a list of cows in my land of the sacred—the church. Just for fun. Here are a few:

• The same order of worship
• Standing for the singalong
• The 20-minute lecture called a sermon
• The ban of attaching anything to walls
• No food or drink in the sanctuary

These are some of the untouchables. The sacred cows.

Any you’d add or subtract?