The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

They're actually trying to bring ideology into religion?

One of the fronts on which cannabis prohibition has been challenged is that of religious freedom. There are religious congregations within the United States whose members have been given dispensation by their federal and state governments to ingest peyote, ayahuasca, cannabis, and probably some other otherwise illegal substances.

I have spent some time with Ron Kiczenski. I found him to be exceptionally perceptive and smart, and I agree with his arguments. He claims he communes with God when he ingests cannabis and cultivates hemp, as do I. He once sent Bill Clinton a quarter pound of reefer and was interviewed by a local (CA) TV station about it. I haven't done that.

Ron sued the USA over the issue of religious freedom. In a brief, the US Attorney said the following:

Here is the First Amendment, although one would not think it
was the same text
referred to by the US Attorney:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging
the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government
for a redress of grievances.
The amendment doesn't say anything about whether one weaves society, politics, philosophy, economics, and ideology (think about that one!) into one's practice of one's religion. One might even say it implies that US attorneys and federal judges should avoid making such distinctions.

The judge agreed with the US Attorney. "Yes, of course. Ideological, not religious. Right-o. And philosophical, to boot. No way it's a religion."

All of which kind of reminds me of the legislative argument against allowing sick, disabled and dying people to use cannabis when it is recommended by a doctor.

The question seems to hinge on whether we smoke cannabis to feel better, or simply to feel better. People are going to jail by the cruiseship-ful because of an idiotic framing of a question.


BF said...

I and I.

Dreadlock congo bongo I.
Chileren getchyo kultcha.

repete said...

Would there be a way to change the court's definition of "religion" without bringing up the MJ issues?

Is there even a place in our government where this term is actually defined?

Bob Newland said...

I imagine the word "religion" is defined in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but I'm not going to waste the time looking at it. The First Amendment is the supreme law, and it is pretty plain that Congress shall make no law....

The cannabis issue is what gives the courts heartburn. If it were not involved then there would be no issue. People can found churches based on their beliefs that cats are Gods, and they can get property tax exemptions for their cathouses because of it.

Kiczenzki's case is gone, along with many others. Nobody smokes any less or more cannabis as a result. It's just an example of the raving batshit craziness of government toadies when we come up against the common sense argument that government should have no place in deciding who gets to smoke cannabis.