Source: Yahoo News
Wire Service: AP
On December 10, 2004 the Associated Press reported, "the U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) sided Friday with a New Mexico church that wants to use hallucinogenic tea as part of its Christmas services, despite government objections that the tea is illegal and potentially dangerous. The high court lifted a temporary stay issued last week against using the hoasca tea while it decides whether the Brazil-based O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal is permitted to make it a permanent part of its services... The church, which has about 140 members in the United States and 8,000 worldwide, said the herbal brew is a central sacrament in its religious practice, which is a blend of Christian beliefs and traditions rooted in the Amazon basin. Hollander said the tea is drunk in a ritual similar to the Catholic Communion. Church members then sit in a circle and meditate; they believe the tea brings them closer to God."