Finally, true spritual freedom, at least for the Santo Daime.
For awhile there, I was thinking that we only had the freedom to have a “religion,” but not the spiritual aspect of it, if it happened to interfere with the prohibitions of the powers that be. Religion without spirituality is missing something essential, the real nectar, so it is essential that one be allowed to practice all aspects of their particular belief, including drinking of Ayahuasca tea if one is so inclined.
I am pleased to see that this is changing, though it remains to be seen if other spiritual practices will be removed from the prohibition list.
Federal Judge Owen Panner rules in favor of the Santo Daime Church!
“. . .I conclude that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C.
2000bb to 2000bb-4, requires that plaintiffs be allowed to import and drink
Daime tea for their religious ceremonies, subject to reasonable
restrictions. I will enter a judgment and permanent injunction.
These are my findings of fact and conclusions of law after
the court trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 52 (a). . .
“. . .Plaintiffs have established their prima facie claim by more than a preponderance of the evidence.
Plaintiffs have established that they are sincere in their religious beliefs, and that the ceremonial use of the Daime tea is essential to their religion. It is obvious that prohibiting the use of Daime tea would substantially burden the exercise of plaintiffs’ religion. . .”
“. . .The government has failed to show that outright prohibition of the Daime tea is the least restrictive means of furthering its interests. . .”
“. . .Plaintiffs are entitled to relief under RFRA. Judgment will be entered for plaintiffs in accordance with this opinion.”
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED this 18 day of March, 2009
US District Judge