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OfflinemotamanM
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Church may be facing federal prosecution
    #3063231 - 08/28/04 09:41 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

http://www.heraldextra.com/modules.php?o...order=0&thold=0

Church may be facing federal prosecution

DAILY HERALD


Caleb Warnock

A celebration of minority religious rights in Utah among members of the Oklevueha EarthWalks Native American Church came to an abrupt end Thursday when church leaders were told they may be facing federal prosecution.

Oklevueha founder James Warren "Flaming Eagle" Mooney received a letter on Thursday from the U. S. Department of Justice informing him that the federal government will not recognize a June ruling of the Utah Supreme Court that the church can distribute peyote to non-American Indians.

"Although the Utah Supreme Court has recently ruled that you may sell or otherwise distribute peyote under state law, that ruling does not control or bind the federal government," wrote U.S. Attorney Paul Warner and U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division Chief Richard N.W. Lambert in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily Herald. "Please be advised that this office is reviewing your conduct for consideration of seeking federal charges."

If federal charges are filed, Mooney said he would defend his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Mooney and his wife, Linda, founded the Utah chapter of the Oklevueha EarthWalks Native American Church in 1997 in Benjamin, near Spanish Fork. In October 2000, Utah County Sheriff's deputies raided the church, saying Mooney was
illegally distributing peyote to non-American Indians.

Deputies seized nearly 17,500 peyote buttons in addition to the church's computers and records. Mooney and his wife were arrested the next month and posted bond; the Utah chapter of the church has since declared bankruptcy.

In 2001, the Mooneys were charged with 10 first-degree felony counts of operating a controlled substance criminal enterprise, and one count of racketeering, a second-degree felony. The couple faced life in prison for the charges. In June, the Utah Supreme Court ordered those charges dismissed.

In an interview with the Daily Herald, Mooney said he believes Utah County attorney Kay Bryson is encouraging the federal charges because his office lost the Supreme Court case. Mooney has written a letter to U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, asking for intervention.

"I feel and think this is Mr. Bryson's last ditch effort to cover up his inappropriate behaviors, raiding a legally, lawfully established church, and for arresting three of its spiritual leaders," said Mooney.

Speaking to the Daily Herald late Thursday, Bryson said he had "no response" to Mooney's comments about him.

"I can tell you that the Justice Department was unhappy with the decision that came from our state Supreme Court, and that the contact between my office and federal authorities was initiated by federal authorities," he said.

Mooney said if ward leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were prosecuted in the same way for distributing the sacrament to church members, there would be an outcry of religious persecution. Any erosion of religious freedom threatens other churches, he said.

"I would like people to really understand what is at stake here," he said. "This puts all religions at risk."

Mooney said he is confident that when the Justice Department reviews all the facts of the case, no charges will be brought against him.

Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, declined to comment.


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OfflineWorf
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Registered: 07/04/04
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Re: Church may be facing federal prosecution [Re: motaman]
    #3063590 - 08/28/04 11:53 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Weren't the people who first came to the United States coming here for religious freedom? Looks like we have freedom of religion as long as it's the religion the majority agrees with.

Thats pretty close to me, about 1 1/3 hours away.


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Offlinebaraka
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Re: Church may be facing federal prosecution [Re: motaman]
    #3065032 - 08/29/04 02:30 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

They came for thier own religious freedom saddly. The made the natives here take thier regigious freedom and shove it.


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Offlineneuro
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Re: Church may be facing federal prosecution [Re: motaman]
    #3073895 - 08/31/04 03:24 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

>> Mooney has written a letter to U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, asking for intervention.

Mooney doesn't stand an ice-cube's chance in hell by writing to Orrin Hatch, that old crotchety piece of shit.


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InvisibleMOTH
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Re: Church may be facing federal prosecution [Re: baraka]
    #3074787 - 08/31/04 06:22 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

baraka said:
They came for thier own religious freedom saddly. The made the natives here take thier regigious freedom and shove it.




I'm learning about this right now in US History, actually.


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OfflineMikeOLogical
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Re: Church may be facing federal prosecution [Re: motaman]
    #3076471 - 09/01/04 02:13 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

They came for religious freedom alright, but within a hundred years you had quaker societies with mandatory church attendance, witch burnings, and sinners being marked with symbols and letters to identify them to the rest of the community...

Religious freedom seems to mean the freedom to force others to live within the laws of one's own religion...

to this day, in many jurisdictions, you cannot buy beer on sunday until church lets out...

you can't even buy herb on a sunday morning, but thats only because herb dealers sleep late :wink:


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OfflineAsanteA
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Re: Church may be facing federal prosecution [Re: motaman]
    #3077406 - 09/01/04 10:50 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

What to do in a case like this?
Well.. I posted a response to the article in the DAILY HERALD :smile:
What you see here is my Cut & Paste before I pressed submit, so it may not be up yet!


Quote:

Let's get real about this.
.
.
JWFE Mooney's stance is that of a Church Official who stands in defense of Peyote as a Religious Sacrament.
.
Nobody in the flesh can decide whether a Religion, or its Sacrament, is justified. The only one who sits in judgement over this is the All-Encompassing One, which is the Force or Deity each true Religion tries to uphold and is the Perfection all true believers try to live their lives by.
.
All we mere mortals can decide is whether or not this branch of this Native American Church is based on sincere Religion or feigned religion aimed at more mundane matters.
.
Society is a game we play by rules made up by its members and honed over the years, striving for earthly justice.
What should be on trial is whether this branch of this Native American Church is founded on sincere Religion or on feigned Religion.
.
We who walk the earth cannot sit in judgement over the value of a Religion or it's Sacraments, but we have in fact an entire legal system to discern the genuine intent from the feigned intent, independant of the matter.
.
This is a Spiritual matter that transcends "drug laws".
Drug laws are in effect to protect the sheep from the wolves who prey on them, protect the weak from the strong and to protect those who are unable to protect themselves.
.
It is established fact that the medicine men of modern hospitals can prescribe 'schedule 1' morphine to those physically in need.
It also is established fact the medicine men of olden times prescribed 'schedule 1' Peyote to those in spiritual need.
The Roman Catholic Church upholds Wine as a sacrament. The chalice on the altar can hardly be compared with the whiskey in the brown paper bag.
.
By no means are these violations to the spirit of the drug laws, because this use of controlled substances is in harmony with the reduction of harm, the goal that binds the Medical with the Legal and the Spiritual movements that are here to bring out the best in us.
.
America in the past and present has made bitter mistakes in regard to heritage, gender and race of some of its citizens, consistently either falling short or overshooting the mark where it comes to respect and harmony, which is the aim of Spirituality and Society itself.
.
If the Sacremental-Religious use of Peyote is deemed acceptable for Native Americans then this is independent of 'race' and people of any 'race' should not be prohibited by lawmakers from seeking the Divine, the quest of Humanity, in a Religion that utilizes a Sacrament that can be abused if taken out of Religious context.
.
Perhaps the Religious nay-sayers are correct that the Path to the Divine Force seldom leads to a desert cactus.
But no true Believer in their right mind could argue that a desert cactus can keep God from reaching out to one of his flock.
.
If independant science is called to the stand it can do little but state that the Peyote cactus and some of its components have many medicinal uses and that toxicity is limited.
.
Modern research on the Sacraments of South-American Ayahuasca Churches (such as the Christian Santo Daime Church) have shown no significant harm arose from their 'consciousness-altering' Sacrament. In fact they had lower incidences of disease and lower rates of drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse and crime then the general population, an effect shared by most other genuine Religions.
.
But you cannot compare Ayahuasca with Peyote. Even though some of their pharmacological actions, when ingested, are alike their use as a Sacrament transcends their herbal nature, just as the effects of Sacramental Wine stand far removed from a storebought bottle of even the finest wine.
.
True Religion, genuine Religion, is a path that leads over sharp rocks and through thorny bushes. Until this day no ill effects of Peyote have been found but an upset stomach and the possibility of pronounced inner turmoil which rarely lasts even a week.
.
It may well be that for some the 'sharp rocks and thorny bushes' involve Religious use of Sacramental Peyote. As only the Divine Force can sit in judgement over the true value of Peyote or a man's heart, let the legal system decide if JWFE Mooney's Religious stance is genuine, and if so grant him his constitutional right to practice his Religion and use the Peyote cactus as a Sacrament like it has been used for centuries.




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OfflineAsanteA
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Re: Church may be facing federal prosecution [Re: Asante]
    #3078686 - 09/01/04 06:27 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)



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OfflineAnisotropic
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Registered: 07/28/04
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Re: Church may be facing federal prosecution [Re: motaman]
    #3079008 - 09/01/04 07:50 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

That's the most racest thing I've ever heard...


I don't understand how the government can say that one race will be able to consume a certan NATIVE PLANT.... while others can not.... Better yet, a plant that is said to help spitural awakenings.... I guess if your not born the right race, you just won't be able to have thoses spirtual experences....

Um...

BIGOTS.....


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InvisibleMOTH
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Registered: 06/06/03
Posts: 23,360
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Re: Church may be facing federal prosecution [Re: Anisotropic]
    #3081261 - 09/02/04 05:52 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Anisotropic said:
That's the most racest thing I've ever heard...


I don't understand how the government can say that one race will be able to consume a certan NATIVE PLANT.... while others can not.... Better yet, a plant that is said to help spitural awakenings.... I guess if your not born the right race, you just won't be able to have thoses spirtual experences....

Um...

BIGOTS.....





yep...


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Offlineshaman2b
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Re: Church may be facing federal prosecution [Re: MOTH]
    #3081910 - 09/02/04 11:03 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I think you answered your own question. No religion based on adherence to dogma actually wants its members to achieve true spiritual awakening, because then they wouldn't need the church anymore. How can you control the populace if they realize that "God" is within them?


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