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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

Symposium: Drugs and the Law.

California Law Review. (1968).
Vol. 56, No. 1, January.
New York: G. P. Putnam's.

ISBN: none

Description: Paperback, v + 249 pages.

Contents: (only articles having to do with the special topic are listed)

by Peter Kay Westen
17Social Problems of Drug Use and Drug Policies
by Joel Fort
29The Use of Expert and Documentary Evidence in a Constitutional Attack on a State Criminal Stature
by Joseph S. Oteri and Lawrence H. Norris
37Comment: Antinarcotic Testing in California: Of Substantive Due Process
54On Legislating Morals: the Symbolic Process of Designating Deviance
by Joseph R. Gusfield
74Psychedelics and Religious Experience
by Alan Watts
86Religious Aspects of Psychedelic Drugs
byWalter Houston Clark
100Comment: Free Exercise: Religion Goes to "Pot"
160Selected Bibliography on Marijuana and LSD-type Drugs
by David M. Israelstam

Excerpt(s): "LSD is the New Sacrament; so it has been revealed to me. ... The continued use of these drugs has developed my Spiritual Consciousness ... that this is the Dawn of the New Age. ... that the sacrament by which the awakening occurs, is LSD, and even more than that, STP, which is the most sacred thing I have ever experienced . ... Without the sacrament, I would not perish, nor would I be without religion, but I could not practice what is now my religion." The religious use of drugs is as old as recorded history. The Dead Sea Scrolls, according to some, suggest that preChristian sects in the Qumran Community ingested psychedelic mushrooms. Groups of Navajo Indians in the Native American Church have been smoking peyote, a mild hallucinogen extract of cactus, since the 16th century. The supreme Court of California has accordingly held that these Navajos, in the absence of a compelling state interest in regulation, have a constitutional right to use peyote as a central part of their religion.

State interest is only one side of the equation involving constitutional issues of drug use and free exercise; the other side of the equation is religion. To sustain a constitutional claim for religious use of drugs, one must not only counter evidence of compelling state interest, he must also prove that his drug use constitutes an essential element of genuine religious belief. The first amendment may preclude a court from inquiring into the validity or authenticity of religious belief, but it does not preclude inquiry into the defendant's good faith. A North Carolina court has therefore held that a member of the Neo-American Church has no constitutional right to use peyote and marijuana where he invokes a religious claim in bad faith to shield otherwise prohibited conduct. Besides good faith, the defendant may also have to show that his belief forms part of a collective movement. Thus, a California court has denied the defense of free exercise to a marijuana user on the ground that he propounded a one-man religion which more closely resembled a personal philosophy of life than an institutionalized church. And finally, the defendant may be compelled to demonstrate that his religious belief conforms with the general tradition of established mystical religions. A defendant could not argue, for example, that his religion consists of parking in front of fire hydrants. He must show that his belief "occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by God of those admittedly qualifying for the exemption ...." (Peter Kay Westen, "Introduction," pages 7-8)

This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP

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