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SCOTUS Approves Use Of Hallucinogenic Drug

What are they smoking?

From those lovers of liberty at the DNC's Associated Press:

Supreme Court says church can use drugs during ritual

February 21, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that a small congregation in New Mexico may use hallucinogenic tea as part of a four-hour ritual intended to connect with God.

Justices, in their first religious freedom decision under Chief Justice John Roberts, moved decisively to keep the government out of a church's religious practice.

Federal drug agents should have been barred from confiscating the hoasca tea of the Brazil-based church, Roberts wrote in the decision.

The tea, which contains an illegal drug known as DMT, is considered sacred to members of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, which has a blend of Christian beliefs and South American traditions.

Members believe they can understand God only by drinking the tea, which is consumed twice a month at four-hour ceremonies.

New Justice Samuel Alito did not take part in the case, which was argued last fall before Justice Sandra Day O'Connor before her retirement. Alito was on the bench for the first time on Tuesday.

Roberts said that the Bush administration had not met its burden under a federal religious freedom law to show that it could ban "the sect's sincere religious practice."

The chief justice had also been skeptical of the government's position in the case last fall, suggesting that the administration was demanding too much, a "zero tolerance approach."

The Bush administration had argued that the drug in the tea not only violates a federal narcotics law, but a treaty in which the United States promised to block the importation of drugs including dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT.

"The government did not even submit evidence addressing the international consequences of granting an exemption for the (church)," Roberts wrote.

The justices sent the case back to a federal appeals court, which could consider more evidence.

Roberts, writing his second opinion since joining the court, said that religious freedom cases can be difficult "but Congress has determined that courts should strike sensible balances."

The case is Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal, 04-1084.

Never mind that it was quite common for many American Indian tribes to use tobacco to come into contact with the Great Spirit.

From the all-seeing Wikipedia:

Tobacco – History

Native Americans used tobacco before Europeans arrived in America, and early European settlers in America learned to smoke and brought the practice back to Europe, where it became hugely popular. At extremely high doses, tobacco becomes hallucinogenic; accordingly, Native Americans generally did not use the drug recreationally. Rather, it was often consumed in extraordinarily high quantities and used as an entheogen; generally, this was done only by experienced shamans or medicine men.

And in case you're wondering about what an entheogen is, Wikipedia graciously explains that, too:


The word entheogen is a modern term derived from two Ancient Greek words, eνθεος (entheos) and γενέσθαι (genesthai). Entheos literally means "god (theos) within", more freely translated "inspired". The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means "to cause to be" or becoming. So an entheogen is "that which causes God (or godly inspiration) to be within a person".

I wonder how the Supremes would handle anyone's outrageous demands to be able to smoke tobacco to get in touch with "their inner god"?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 21st, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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