December 18, 2014 · 26 Kislev

Join Us

Key Topics

Give

Reform Jewish Leader Praises Supreme Court Decision Protecting Religious Freedom
In response to today’s Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, et al. -- upholding the right of a small congregation in New Mexico to use hoasca tea, a hallucinogenic, as part of a four-hour ritual intended to connect with God -- Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the a statement noting, “The Court’s unanimous recognition of the high standard that the government must meet to abridge religious freedom in this nation is welcome news.”

Pelavin: The Court’s unanimous recognition of the high standard that the government must meet to abridge religious freedom in this nation is welcome news.

Contact: Alexis Rice or Barbara Weinstein, 202.387.2800

Washington, February 21, 2006– In response to today’s Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, et al. -- upholding the right of a small congregation in New Mexico to use hoasca tea, a hallucinogenic, as part of a four-hour ritual intended to connect with God -- Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, et al. is an important victory for all Americans, especially those of Americans of faith, and most especially those who belong to minority religions. The Court’s recognition of the high standard that the government must meet to abridge religious freedom in this nation is welcome news.

It will take some time to explore the details of today’s holding, but two things are immediately apparent, both underscoring the fundamental commitment to religious liberty. First, we are pleased that today’s ruling was unanimous, and was written by the Chief Justice. That sends a powerful and unmistakable signal to those who would impinge on religious freedoms that the Court is unlikely to countenance such steps. Second, it is important to note that Justice Scalia, whose opinion in Employment Division v. Smith held the precursor to the statute at issue here to be unconstitutional, joined the majority in this case.

For more than two centuries, America's tradition of religious freedom has been a central strand in the fabric of our nation. For Reform Jews, and so much of American Jewry, the struggle to protect religious liberty, to ensure that we, and our neighbors, are free to follow the dictates of our conscience, is a core issue. The Court’s unanimous decision today is an important and reassuring indication of support for the unique nature of our first principles.

###

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



Chai Impact Action Center
Take action on these top issues!

 

 
Travel Justly, Social Action Prayers, Program Bank, Holiday Guides Travel Justly Social Action Prayers Social Action Program Bank Holiday Guides
© Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, 1996-2013
View our Privacy Statement
URJ CCAR