Given that the United States Supreme Court and the States have made some pretty crazy statements about religion, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to start a religion that put religious freedom to the test. It happened the first week of July 2018.
An Indiana judge just ruled that the First Church of Cannabis, an Indianapolis church seeking to offer its members marijuana as a holy sacrament, doesn’t have the right to do that. Judge Sheryl Lynch of the Marion Circuit Court said that the state of Indiana had a “compelling interest” in preventing marijuana possession because she said and I quote:
“Allowing religious exemptions for marijuana use would have an overall negative impact on society” Her argument was that allowing marijuana to be used by believers would put Indiana’s police officers in the difficult position of having to evaluate the sincerity of a marijuana user’s religious faith.
Well, Judge Lynch, I’ve got news for you. They don’t have the right to judge anyone’s faith. Neither do you. Freedom of Religion means just that. Freedom – Of – Religion. It also means freedom FROM religion, which means that you don’t have the right to tell me how, when, where, what, or even IF I should worship.
That’s what the First Amendment means. Any judge who thinks otherwise isn’t a judge, they are exactly what you are Judge Lynch, an idiot who has been given way too much power over way too many people for way too long.
The fact is that I want to start a church of people who worship Annie’s Tuscany Italian Salad Dressing by sticking to a strict Mediterranean diet, that’s none of your damn business. If My church says that CBD oil derived from Cannabis should be added to the salad dressing as part of a weekly sacrament, that’s none of your business either.
It’s certainly no stranger than symbolically engaging in cannibalism and vampirism…things which Christians have done since at least the time of Constantine. How often do cops question the faith of Christians? Or is symbolic blood drinking somehow better than the belief that Moses saw a burning bush, and in the cloud, saw God?
Who is to say that the bush wasn’t Marijuana?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life it’s this: Religion and Politics both have followers who don’t give a damn about facts. If they did, they would vote in their own best interests, keep noses out of other people’s business and hang onto their money instead of throwing it away into a collection plate.
Religion, believers say, matters more than petty things like money. That is, as long as its THEIR religion. They don’t seriously care about freedom of religion. If they did, no state would have religion as a test for holding public office. Yet there are seven states that do.
Even though the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1961 that forcing anyone to make a declaration of faith would violate our rights under both the First and Fourteenth Amendments, provisions barring atheists from holding public office are remain written into the constitutions of Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Freedom of religion is all fine well and good, it seems, as long as your religion is the one being protected. As for the rest? Well… That’s grist for the mill, isn’t it?