Indiana's terrible anti-gay law could help religions that use cannabis



Time to get the old-school child sacrifices back in the mix.

“I’m sorry, my lord Satan demands child sacrifice, so if you want to charge me with murder and kidnapping, you’re just stepping all over my religious freedoms, and we know how Indiana feels about that!”

…also would make it legal to exclude Christians from stuff, which seems hilarious to me. “Only Pastafarians are served at this establishment, all others are blasphemers unto His Noodleness.”


Christians and Jews use to perform animal sacrifice, also.

It’s an intriguing idea and certainly demonstrates potential unintended consequences of the law, but I think what’s going to happen is that someone who wants to use cannabis (or peyote or coca leaves or, for that matter, LSD) as a religious sacrament is going to have an uphill court battle.

Meanwhile the businesses that want to deny service to LGBT people because of their owners’ alleged religious beliefs will have no trouble doing so, since that was the intent of the law.

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Wait, WHAT? When we say freedom of religion we mean for Baptists, other Protestants, Catholics if they don’t get to uppity, and maybe even Jews if they don’t start asking for funky days off.


We can perhaps guess, but I am not convinced that such a law carries the intents of whoever conceived it. When their intent is apparently not fit for public consumption, all we get is the resulting law.

This keeps with the long standing tradition of more liberal people not asserting themselves, and playing into more conservative views of “trying to get away with something”. A better outlook might be to ask “Why wouldn’t the use of such sacraments be intended?” (try to resist the urge to shoot yourself in the foot). Saying this as clergy who does use psychedelics.

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Especially since the only “deeply held religious beliefs” that get a free pass in the American “justice” system are the most common “Christian” ones like discriminating against gay people, restricting the freedoms of women, etc.

The first question that will be asked here is, “aren’t you just claiming to have a religious belief in the use of pot because you’re a stoner who wants to get high?”

Fewer people will ask, “aren’t you just claiming to have a religious belief in opposing the rights of gay people and women because you’re a bigot and a misogynist?”

All religious beliefs are equal, but some are more equal than others.


I apologize if I’m not following, but are you suggesting that the law might have been intended to make the use of psychedelics legal and not to allow business owners to deny service to homosexuals based on alleged religious beliefs?

I have a hard time believing Pence wanted to grant protections to what many would consider alternative religious practices, especially given the individuals who joined him at the “private” signing ceremony for the bill.

Yes, I and lots of others are merely assuming that this is an anti-LGBT law since Pence hasn’t explicitly said so, which I find surprising since I doubt he lost any support for being openly hostile to LGBT rights. I think the reason for that assumption, though, is that even though the evidence is circumstantial there’s a lot of it.


The Bible is very positive about slavery - looking forward to seeing that make a comeback as a protected religious belief.


No. I said we can only guess at the people’s intentions. As an end-user of law, people deal with the actuality of what it says, rather than the perhaps shortsighted, unstated intentions. I doubt if your guess is far off, but in real life the motivations behind it might not be relevant in practice.

I don’t know about “alternative”, but it does sound to me like the bill is indeed shortsighted. There is no legitimate way for it to offer such protections to only those they might prefer.

Sure, but they can’t write that into law, so it is instead kept vague, and can so be used for any number of other things.


So this law enables me to practice my Roman polytheistic belief and feed all those Christians to the lions?


My religion, Judi-ism (based on the worship of Dame Judi Dench), requires that all non-thespians be fed to the lions. Sorry.




I would argue marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and wine used in religious ceremonies.

Hey awesome! No stoner ever thought of that argument before - I bet it’s going to empty the prisons lickety-split! And Indiana Republicans are just going to hang their heads sheepishly and admit, “dangit, we just legalized weed.”


I am sure we can get them some help with that…

You’d think there’d be a lot more followers. All it took to convert me was…

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No, no, no, no, no.

It’s Judy-ism, and THIS is the definitive version of that song:


I just think it’s strange that the very same political constituency that is constantly warning us about Sharia Law is the one that demanded a “religious liberty law.”


Does nobody research this stuff anymore?

From an article on legal journal Stanford Law Review:

Since then, courts have questioned religious sincerity in a variety of contexts, notably in criminal cases. Religious objections to drug laws have sometimes succeeded,[13] but criminal courts are generally skeptical,[14] wary that claimed “churches” exist for “the desire to use drugs and to enjoy drugs for their own sake, regardless of religious experience.”[15] For example, in his Hobby Lobby opinion, Justice Alito cited to United States v. Quaintance,[16] in which the defendants claimed RFRA barred their drug prosecutions because “they [we]re the founding members of the Church of Cognizance, which teaches that marijuana is a deity and sacrament.”[17] The Tenth Circuit rejected that claim as insincere, observing that the evidence “strongly suggest[ed]” that the defendants’ marijuana dealings stemmed from “commercial or secular motives rather than sincere religious conviction.”[18] Outside the drug context, courts have also rejected insincere RFRA claims in a variety of animal-related prosecutions, such as for possessing and trading in eagle feathers[19] and for importing parts of endangered African primate species.[20] Ultimately, these cases show that where there is a financial or otherwise self-interested motive to lie about a religious belief, courts are willing and able to evaluate sincerity.

Judges aren’t stupid, and they tend to take a dim view of people trying to rules lawyer a religious right to get high. When you can invent a time machine and retroactively create a hundreds-of-years-old religion around marijuana like Native Americans have around peyote, you might have something, but not until then.

(Ironically, if any religion could be said to have a historical right to get high on marijuana, it would be Islam. The original “assassins” who got high on hashish before killing people were an offshoot sect of Shi’a.)

I’m not a lawyer, but I think this is a bullshit interpretation.

The RFRA has already been found to be unconstitutional when applied to states ( City of Boerne v. Flores) – it only holds at the Federal level. Given this, it seems really, really unlikely that Indiana would purposely submit to it.