Tea for 130


Today the Supreme Court unanimously told federal drug warriors to back off and let American adherents of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal use the psychedelic tea ayahuasca in their rituals. The Court agreed with the district judge and the 10th Circuit that punishing members of the church for possession of their sacrament violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. As I said in my column on the case, I'd rather that adults be free to use psychedelics (or any other currently illegal drug) even when their motivation is not religious, but I'll take what I can get.

Like the medical marijuana controversy, another issue involving special exemptions from the drug laws, this case illustrates the blind orthodoxy of diehard prohibitionists (even "compassionate conservatives") who are willing to sacrifice things they supposedly value, such as compassion for the sick and respect for religious freedom, on the altar of pharmacological correctness. Bloomberg News notes that "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."