In June 2010, the Crown brought in Katherine Young, a professor of religion, as an expert witness. Prof. Young said she could not see anything in the Church of the Universe that resembled ritual, sacred spaces or symbols, or helped its members deal with life’s paradoxes. The only “scripture” or other literature she could find was from Cannabis Culture magazine, a secular journal, and some information on a website.
Crown attorney Nicholas Devlin called the religious defense “inside joke among people who like to smoke marijuana.”
Church of the Universe ministers Peter Styrsky (L) and Shahrooz Kharaghan
Mr. Filipovic said Prof. Young’s definition was too specific and countered by quoting American philosopher William James: “Religion shall mean for us the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider divine.”
Any article that includes a quote from William James is worth a look. What do you think of the argument. Should the 'Church of the Universe' be categorized as a 'religion'? Is the only thing hindering their being accepted as such the fact that they root (pardon the pun) their faith in cannabis, a substance illegal to possess in Canada?
Updated: ‘Pot church’ member sentenced to three months in jail | Holy Post | National Post