On October 28, 1988, Judge Robert Maloney of the Fifth Circuit Court ruled that Government regulations concerning Peyote are political, not racial. See more in our Chronology. In his ruling against the Peyote Way Church of God, Judge Maloney stated the following:
1) There is a limited supply of the Holy Sacrament peyote, and all of it is needed for the Native American Church of North America.
2) The government is authorized to make laws to protect the public even if those laws infringe on the Church's religious rights, therefore the Federal and Texas State drug laws are legitimate.
3) Federal and Texas State laws are not racist, they're political. Native American Church members belong to a sovereign nation.
"The court therefore concludes that regardless of the sincerity of Peyote Way's members' beliefs in peyotism, the exemption provided the Native American Church cannot be expanded to include non-Native American Church use of peyote.
The Court further concludes that the overriding interest of Congress to control the use of narcotics and psychotropic drugs outweighs the interest of expanding an exemption that clearly was meant to be a grandfather clause, and not a full-scale exemption of religious peyote use.
Finding that Congress' intent to exempt the Native American Church is not meant to extend to other Churches which use peyote, the Court finds that Peyote Way's claims for violation of the free exercise clause and establishment clause of the First Amendment must fail."
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