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OfflineKalix
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Religious Exemption to Prohibition
    #4383692 - 07/08/05 01:41 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

The Volstead Act, passed in 1919 (over the veto of President Wilson), giave federal agents the power to investigate and prosecute violations of the amendment. But alcoholic beverages for medicinal and sacramental use were exempt under the Volstead Act, which allowed many people to avoid the spirit of the law.

Then, in 1990: Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990) - Court rules that the Free Exercise Clause cannot exempt one from drug laws. The two defendants were members of the Native American Church and had ingested peyote, a hallucinogenic drug. The high court states a new rule: no religious actions may violate general laws, but laws aimed specifically at religions or a particular religious practice will be held unconstitutional.

Does this Supreme Court ruling, defy the precedent that congress had set in 1919? Is there a way to plead that the 1990 ruling is discriminatory, by the wording of the 1st ammendment? In particular, the part that says "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"... If, during our first bout with prohibition, an exception was made for catholocism to use said prohibited material, why can't smaller religions qualify for the same treatment under the current guise of prohibition?

Is the 1990 Supreme Court ruling unconstitional? Or at the lease discriminatory??


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OfflineRedstorm
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Re: Religious Exemption to Prohibition [Re: Kalix]
    #4383707 - 07/08/05 01:44 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Small exemptions have been made (see: New Mexico). Though I don't agree with the decision, it surely is not discriminatory. It deals with a broadly applicable law.


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OfflineKalix
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Re: Religious Exemption to Prohibition [Re: Redstorm]
    #4383752 - 07/08/05 01:51 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

But then, doesn't it just simply violate the wording of the first ammendment? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I mean, if Congress can't make such laws, what gives the Supreme Court the right to interpret the first ammendment as saying that sacramental substances can be illegal, if they are ruled illegal by law? Since congress isn't involved here, does that make it technically a legal ruling? Are state laws, or the Supreme Court, allowed to violate constitutional freedoms, when Congress isn't??


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Religious Exemption to Prohibition [Re: Kalix]
    #4383802 - 07/08/05 02:03 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

> Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Imagine we are talking of human sacrifices instead of communion...

One could argue that communion is voluntary while sacrifice is not, but what if the "victims" consented to the sacrifice?

I see why the courts ruled the way they did, but it isn't right. The problem is that everybody wants a "hard and fast rule" that applies the same across the board... but we all know that life doesn't work this way... there are times that each case must be weighed individually. Of course, this would mean that our civil servants would actually have to work for a change... much easier to take away rights from the heathens.


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OfflineKalix
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Re: Religious Exemption to Prohibition [Re: Seuss]
    #4383820 - 07/08/05 02:07 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

But surely, on an individual basis, there are HUGE differences between taking natural substances, as communion, than bathing in the blood of brain-washed virgins? I'm sure even the maniacs on the supreme court can differentiate between the two.. Especially when you keep the Volstead act in mind, they have rolled back prohibitory measures on intoxicants for religous use in the past..


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Religious Exemption to Prohibition [Re: Kalix]
    #4383844 - 07/08/05 02:14 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

> here are HUGE differences between

Exactly, but the courts don't care... too much work...


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OfflineKalix
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Re: Religious Exemption to Prohibition [Re: Seuss]
    #4383856 - 07/08/05 02:16 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

They only care when Catholocism is at stake.. This smacks of some kind of defferential treatment towards certain religions, which is unconstitutional.. Does anyone know of a constitutional law expert that I could ask about this?


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