Case #4: Oregon Employment Division v. Smith (1990)



~Here's what this case is about~
The case of Oregon Employment Division v. Smith (1990) is about two men (Alfred Smith) (Galen Black) who were members of the Native American church. With the religion there is a ritual that involves the drug peyote, "a cactus derivative containing the hallucinogen mescaline". Both of the Native American men had ingested the peyote during the religious rituals. As a result, both of the men were fired from there jobs at a private drug rehabilitaion program for "work related misconduct".

When Alfred and Galen filed for unemployment benefits, they were turned down,again because of there use of peyote. the drug is outlawed and considered a crime if ingested or in possesion. according to oregon law
but even though drug use in religious ceremonies is exempted from criminal penalties of fedral law. drug use in religious ceremonies is exempted from criminal penalties by federal law and by the laws of 23 states, Oregon provided no such exemption. The men sued, saying that the state had violated their rights to free exercise of their religion.







Here is a screenshot of a map of the town where the issue came up:
oregon_ref_2001.jpg
State of Oregon, site of Oregon vs. Smith, 1990

image source: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/us_2001/oregon_ref_2001.jpg


These were the two opposing values:
The employment division is all for firing the two men that had been caught with the drug peyote in there blood stream. and that not only is the drug illegal but the men work at a private drug rehabilitaion clinic. which means they cant shows they cant have a job helping others to stop drugs when there using them thereselves.

The smith and galen freinds beleive that they shouldnt be fired because the state of oregon is violating the law of free practise of religon so the drug use of peyote should be legallized for there so caled religous rituals and that they mean no harm by it with that taking it out of hand of there religous beleifs.

What I think:
i say that they men were fired and should be fired with no unemployment benefits because they choose to use the drug for its after effects as anyone can see and they just blame it on there religon which should never be considered a pass from getting in trouble they still toke the drug and they need to face there punishment. its total stupidity that they think because there made up pointless religon is legally aloud to use drugs then so should every other drug addict in the world then how would things work??

This is important background we learned about the case:
we learned that the drug peyote is legalized for native americans along with there religion and the required cerimonies to use the drug.
and that by using drugs there are consiquences even if you have a resonable excuse it may not always work and you might have to fight for your right and lose alot but still have the chance to win your case in some cases..
and that you have the freedom to your own belief in religon and that none is alowed to tell you what to beleive in the united states law under the constitution.

These are a few vocabulary words that will help you understand the case :
-indictment
-ruleing
-constitution
-crime

This is what the Court decided:
It is a permissible reading of the [free exercise clause]...to say that if prohibiting the exercise of religion is not the object of the [law] but merely the incidental effect of a generally applicable and otherwise valid provision, the First Amendment has not been offended....To make an individual's obligation to obey such a law contingent upon the law's coincidence with his religious beliefs, except where the State's interest is 'compelling' - permitting him, by virtue of his beliefs, 'to become a law unto himself,' contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense.' To adopt a true 'compelling interest' requirement for laws that affect religious practice would lead towards anarchy