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U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Puts Limits on Freedom of Religion

April 29, 1990

I have read The Times' editorial "The Necessity of Religion" (April 19) with interest and a reservation.

The editorial, in the name of religious freedom, vehemently opposes the U.S. Supreme Court's decision which upheld the dismissal of two Indians, members of the Native American Church, who admitted eating peyote in a religious ceremony.

I think that the editorial goes overboard. There is nothing more sublime than religious freedom, but even a sublime principle must also be tempered unless we want to fall into ridicule. Can we really allow, in the name of religious freedom, the use of a destructive hallucinatory drug?

This very editorial does believe in the absolute truth of religious freedom, and it is very proud of it. And if this is the case, is the editorial writer also willing to justify human sacrifice in the religious ceremonies of a social group who follows the pre-Colombian Aztec religion which held the view that the sun, in order to shine, needed human blood?

Let us be sensible! The principles are sublime, but they must be moderated by common sense and historical experience.

ANGELO A. DE GENNARO

Los Angeles

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