Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal
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Time Period
2/21/2006
Description
This 2006 Supreme Court decision recognized that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) is constitutional as it applied to religious free exercise claims in the federal courts. The Court applied the compelling state interest test required under RFRA to evaluate a claim brought by a church whose rituals include the sacramental use of a hallucinogenic tea. A shipment of the tea had been seized by U.S. Customs inspectors and the church sued to have the tea released. In applying the compelling state interest test, the Court found for the church and held that the government had failed to demonstrate a compelling state interest that would permit it to deny the church its shipment.
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Photographs

Ayahuasca and chacruna, the ingredients in hoasca tea- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Awkipuma (CC BY 3.0)

Hoasca tea preparation- Flickr- photo by Renato Mendes Rocha (CC BY-NC 2.0)

US Supreme Court 2006- photo courtesy Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States, photographer Steve Petteway

Alberto Gonzales, US Attorney General- National Archives and Records Administration
Web Source(s)
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/05pdf/04-1084.pdf
Gonzales, Attorney General, et al. v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal et al. 2005.
Web Page Contributor
Robert Martin
Affliated with: Assistant Professor, Southeastern Lousiana University

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