Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Interesting Supreme Court Case
There have always been limits on religious freedom, those limits have tended to parallel other 1st Amendment limits. But like those other freedoms, the limits on them are quite vague. In a case that the Supreme Court decided to take up yesterday, there's a conflict between our drug laws and the right of a religious group to import narcotics:
The court said it will hear the government's appeal of a 2002 injunction issued by a New Mexico federal judge giving an Albuquerque group, O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal (UDV), the right to import hoasca, a psychedelic substance brewed in herbal tea, for use in certain rituals.
It isn't suprising the Bush Administration wants this reversed, although if practising Christianity involved some kind of psychedelic they might change their tune. I think the Native American group should have the right to use the substance under extremely tight circumstances. This, of course, works under the assumption that the group has a long-standing tradition of using the substance and not abusing it also. Sometimes a lot of big government and red tape is the way to make sure things get done right, and if the UDV is honestly concerned about using this "hoasca" then they'll be willing to go through those regulatory hurtles.