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  • John Grunwell
    U.S. Supreme Court Says Church Can Use Hallucinogen in Ritual Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court, saying law enforcement goals in some cases must
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 21, 2006
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      U.S. Supreme Court Says Church Can Use Hallucinogen in Ritual

      Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court, saying law enforcement goals
      in some cases must yield to religious rights, ruled that the Bush
      administration can't block a New Mexico church from using a hallucinogenic
      tea.

      In a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the
      court today said the church, a 130-member branch of a Brazilian
      denomination, is protected by the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
      The justices upheld a preliminary injunction barring federal prosecution of
      church leaders.

      The case put the Bush administration in the unusual position of opposing
      religious groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the
      National Association of Evangelicals, both of which backed the New Mexico
      church. The government contended the tea, known as hoasca, is dangerous and
      illegal.

      The church, O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal, argued that its
      members believe the ritualistic use of hoasca brings them closer to God. The
      church's U.S. branch is led by Jeffrey Bronfman, a second cousin of Warner
      Music Group Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr.

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