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UDV Santa Fe Church can serve Sacred Tea
The Supreme Court sided Friday with a New
Mexico UDV church that granted the use of ayahuasca tea as part of its services this Christmas.

See also: Jonathan Goldman comments on the legal victory obtained by UDV

See also:

Another step on the path of recognition in the US

Ayahuasca / Santo Daime Research

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court sided Friday with a New Mexico church that wants to use ayahuasca tea as part of its services this Christmas.

Justices lifted a temporary stay the government had won last week.

The Bush administration contends that the hoasca tea is illegal and dangerous.

Nancy Hollander, attorney for the Brazil-based O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, told justices in a filing that hoasca is not only safe, but to members it “is sacred and their sacramental use of hoasca connects them to God.”

The government and the church have been in a legal fight since federal agents raided a church leader's office in Santa Fe in 1999 and seized 30 gallons of hoasca tea. The tea contains DMT, a controlled substance.

The case is Ashcroft v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, A-469.

Jonathan Goldman`s comments on the new legal victory obtained by UDV in the US:

Dear Ones,

I want to give you an update on the UDV case. A lot has happened, and the rumor mill will begin flying. Here is my understanding after consulting with Roy Haber, our attorney. I hope you will find this perspective useful.

The 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the the lower court's decison to allow the UDV to practice their religion, PENDING a full review of whether they will be allowed to do so permanently. There has been no order issued to grant them this permanent right. The road to that is still a long one, with minimum of a year expected until the Supreme Court rules.

The entire Circuit Court met in a configuration called en banc, meaning all the 13 justices of the court met to review the decision of a previous 3 judge Circuit Court panel, which had agreed with the lower court, granting the UDV's request to practice in the meantime. The en banc decision, a decisive 8-5 ruling, upheld the previous two rulings, granting the UDV the temporary right to practice.

The Justice Department asked Supreme Court Justice Breyer to grant a stay, meaning to put on hold, the Circuit Court's order to make the government enter into into good faith discussions with the UDV as to how the practicalities of importing their tea will be carried out. Because the order was going to go into effect the next day, Justice Breyer granted a temporary stay so that the full Supreme Court could decide what to do about granting the hold or not. The Supreme Court yesterday decided to let the Circuit Court order stand until they decide on the case, which will most likely be sometime in the next year.

It is notable and worthy of our gratitude and joy that the light of the forest will be officially allowed to shine in this country. It is a good thing for all of those who follow the path of light, whatever the permutation of that path is. We honor the steadfastness, faith and courage of our brother Jeffrey Bronfman, the leader of the UDV in this country, and the intelligence of the team of legal experts he assembled. Jeffrey will continue to have the prayers and gratitude of those of us on this sister path to the UDV. We will be celebrating with him in our hearts when he serves the first glass of sacred tea to his long waiting people in Santa Fe.

We need to be clear in our gratitude and joy that the process is by no means at an end. The issues that the Supreme Court will take up go far beyond the little case of the UDV. The sides are already lining up in a battle that will have far reaching implications and will be most interesting to watch. The Supreme Court could decide this case in many differernt ways. It is significant and beyond most people's expectaions that the UDV has won at every turn so far. Our prayers are a part of the mix of light shining on this process, and they will continue to be of use.

When the UDV secures its rights, that does not automatically transfer those rights to the Daime. In these next months, we will need to be preparing ourselves for the day of our own presentation. And while the success of the UDV so far makes our task possible, it does not guarantee us anything. Both the UDV and the government have made it emminently clear that they both consider the Daime to be a different case than that of the UDV. While that opinion is not an accurate representation of either spiritual or human law, it nevertheless sets our task before us. It is neither wise nor real for us in the Daime to think that we can avoid the necessity to present ourselves to the government and the public, riding on the coat tails of the UDV. Carefulness, patience, and groundedness are necessary and useful. Their perspectives are central to our effort. And fear has no place at our table. It is through faith that we have been guided so far and it is through faith that we will led home.

We do not have the double edged sword of the UDV's centralized structure. Our sword has different edges. We will have a wonderful opportunity to choose to find unity of purpose and harmony of action, applying what we have all been studying in these intervening years about trust and compassion to each other. I trust that we are ready on the inner planes. Those planes are where we meet in peace with our Master and our Mother. The outer planes are up to us.

In love and respect,

Jonathan Goldman
Ceu da Luz da Rainha
Ashland, Oregon

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