February 22, 2006 | 11 Comments
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled yesterday that a religious sect which drinks a sacramental tea containing a hallucinogen may be entitled to an exemption from the Controlled Substance Act. Insofar as the lower court had found that the evidence submitted by both sides on the drug’s health risks and the potential for diversion to recreational users was virtually balanced, the Supreme Court held that the Government had failed to demonstrate a “compelling interest” to halt the practice under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
What this means is that only the religious have a Constitutional right to get high. The pleasure people get from taking drugs they think helps them see God has been declared more important than the pleasure derived by recreational users. It’s a clear case of favoring religion over non-religion. The sect can continue to use the drug so long as they show they’re using it safely. But no one else gets that chance to try it, no matter what precautions they promise to take.
Yeah, so what. But I do wonder if religious freedom includes the right to sample drugs as part of an effort to choose a religion to convert to. I’m not talking about a scam, but a sincere, hippie-like desire to find one’s inner self. There are a lot of dabblers out there, and they shouldn’t have to go to the trouble becoming official members of every sect whose truths they want to test.