Saturday, December 16, 2006
"Churches and temples are no longer safe in America" claims Reverend Craig X. Rubin
"Churches and Temples are no longer safe in America," claims the Reverend Craig X Rubin of Temple 420, who was arrested November 8, 2006, at his religious establishment by over one dozen 'heavily armed' officers of the LAPD.
"If they can do this to us, they can do it to any church that the government disagrees with." The Reverend known for his reoccurring role on Showtime's hit series "Weeds" said arresting officers did not treat Temple clergymen as required by California Penal Codes 1524 and 1525.
The Reverend Rubin (pictured) is known as the General Pharmer to his congregation.
The investigation of Reverend Rubin began only days earlier. An undercover officer joined Temple 420 on November 3, 2006, and immediately purchased 3.5 grams of sacrament, "PurpleErkle." This was the basis of the arrest warrant for defendant Rubin; the seizure of all sacrament and money from the church; and, the freezing of all financial assets before conviction. As a result, Temple 420 may be forced to close.
(Note: Video of the arrest is available at: youtube.com/watch?v=Mw8W4wJcGOg).
"What if this was my church?" Rubin's lawyer asked. A key tenet of Temple 420 is that members receive communion by burning a sacramental herb, marijuana. However, the plant contains THC, regulated under the Controlled Substances Act by the Federal Government; the sect is currently being barred from engaging in the practice of its religion on the grounds that it violates the California Health & Safety code.
Temple 420 claims the Religious Freedom Restoration Act affirmed by the Supreme Court for protection. By law the Government is prohibited from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion, unless the Government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person represents the least restrictive means of advancing a 'compelling interest.'
This was affirmed in the case of "Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal" when the church's Schedule I hallucinogenic sacrament was seized. But, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the church's sacrament being returned and them being allowed to continue their religious practices.
Temple 420 has retained civil rights attorney La'Chelle Monique Woodert, who plans not only to defend the church, but to then help the Temple sue the city for violating Temple 420's religious freedom rights when they beat the criminal charges.