[Ed. – Because religious freedom is terrible and must be destroyed.]
Participants in the inaugural service of the First Church of Cannabis, formed as a test of Indiana’s new religious objections law, had planned to celebrate by smoking marijuana. But church founder Bill Levin decided to keep pot out of the first service to ensure that he can test that law in civil court and not on criminal grounds.
Marijuana is illegal in Indiana, but Levin plans to defend the congregation’s pot smoking during religious ceremonies under the new law, which took effect Wednesday. It prohibits any government actions that would “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs.
Levin, who calls himself the church’s “Grand Poobah,” noted during the service that Indianapolis’ police chief and the local prosecutor warned last week that church members could face arrest if they smoked pot during the service.
“If we weren’t intimidated this would be the sacrament box, folks — this is the box we keep our sacrament in,” the 59-year-old said, holding up a small wooden box that a fellow church member presented to him. “Unfortunately, there’s no sacrament in it today, so just pretend, folks.”
Most of the congregants followed suit, pretending to pass joints and puff from them.