Tuesday, November 15, 2005

O.U. backs Christian sect

Very interesting case of religious rights versus law:

Jewish Advocate:

A coalition of Jewish groups are backing the right of an obscure Brazilian religious sect to use a hallucinogenic drug in a Supreme Court case widely seen as the first test of how newly-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts will approach religious rights issues.
The Orthodox Union, the Union for Reform Judaisms Religious Action Center, the American Jewish Congress and other Jewish groups have all backed the case of the Uniao Do Vegetal, a Brazilian Christian sect whose beliefs center around the use of a hallucinogenic tea.
The UDVs North American leader is Jeffrey Bronfman, a cousin of Charles Bronfman, the billionaire entrepreneur who helped establish the birthright israel program and the heir of the family business, liquor giant Seagrams.
Jeffrey Bronfman first became acquainted with the UDV and the powerful effects of their sacramental drug, Hoasca, as an ecological activist in Brazilian rain forest in the early 1990s. He would later become the spiritual leader of the first American UDV congregation in New Mexico.
Marc Stern, the co-director of the American Jewish Congress Commission for Law and Social Action, told the Advocate that when it comes to religious rights cases, it is irrelevant whether or not Jews approve of the particular religious practice at issue. You dont get to pick your religious practices. Over the years weve defended a lot of things that are not Jewish practices, including sacrifices and [the drug] peyote. If you dont protect those practices, no one is going to protect you when your time comes.

Why are jews- here Bronfman- joining and heading cults?

What would these jewish groups say is not a legitimate religious use?
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 2:44 PM

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