Christmas services at a New Mexico church will include use of a hallucinogenic tea for the first time in years under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued Friday.
The justices lifted a temporary stay the government had won last week, allowing the Santa Fe church, Brazil-based O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, to use hoasca tea.
"They’re delighted," Albuquerque attorney Nancy Hollander, who represents the church, said. "They’re so thrilled that they can celebrate Christmas for the first time since 1998."
"We cherish our freedom of religion in this country and these people had been denied that," Hollander said.
The Bush administration contends the hoasca tea used by the church is illegal and dangerous.
Hollander said the sacrament is central to the religion.
"One wouldn’t say a Catholic had fully celebrated their religion if they weren’t allowed to receive communion," she said.
Sacramental hallucinogenic tea? I guess not only would they have a high priest, but also a high congregation. Uniao do Vegetal (UDV) translation from the Portuguese means "union of the plants." Now Jesus did use many example of farming and planting but these example were to lead to union with him and not plants. I think the guests at the wedding of Cana would not exactly have been thrilled to have the water turned to tea. The Gospel would really have sounded strange to hear:
"Neither is new tea put into old tea bags; if it is, the bags burst, and the tea is spilled, and the tea bags are destroyed; but new tea is put into fresh tea bags, and so both are preserved."
I could also imagine all the problems if God had ordained tea as one of the elements for communion. You could definitely burn your fingers if you used intinction. Of course the tea pot whistling could replace ringing bells at the consecration. And what would you do with the left over tea leaves. Would the priest one of the EEMs have to swallow them? The thought of a tea ball in a monstrance is not exactly inspiring. I also wonder if they would sing the Tea Deum afterwards to the Holy Trini-Tea?