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Sacramental Drugs

While some may accuse our president of being a Christian zealot, his administration is not afraid of setting reasonable limits on the practice of religion. Take for example the case of the Brazil-based O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal. His administration has asked the Supreme Court to bar them from using the hallucinogenic hoasca tea as part of their religious services.

According to an AP article in today's Lexington Herald-Leader:

The church, which has about 140 members in the United States and 8,000 worldwide, said the herbal brew is a central sacrament in its religious practice, which is a blend of Christian beliefs and traditions rooted in the Amazon basin.

On the other side of the coin:

The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to block a New Mexico church from using hallucinogenic tea that the government contends is illegal and potentially dangerous.

Perhaps the ACLU will come to the defense of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal in this case? Stay tuned.


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Comments (1)

Jason A.:

See the case of "Employment Division v. Smith" (1992) (holding that facially neutral (against religion), generally applicable laws are valid against First Amendment attacks).

In the important case, defendants were convicted of sacramental peyote use under a generally applicable Oregon criminal drug statute. Conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court (Scalia).

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