Closer To God

07Aug06

A group called O Centro Espirita Beneficiente União do Vegetal drinks a tea called hoasca in order to “fully perceive God”.

That sounds great, except that the “tea” contains hallucinogenic substances banned by the US. The group sued the Federal Government, contending that any prohibition on hoasca violated their right to religious freedom. Jeff Toobin talks about the case in an old issue of The New Yorker.Of

A nice victory for the hoasca drinkers – after years of litigation by several US district courts, the Supreme Court recently ruled (pdf download) that members of this group can drink the tea under religious freedom laws.

By the way, hoasca is not technically tea, since it doesn’t come from the Camellia sinensis bush.

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