By Oscar Pascual |
The controversial Restoration of Religious Freedom Act (RFRA) may have led to corporate discrimination in the first place, but it also led to an institution Governor Mike Pence hadn’t anticipated: the First Church of Cannabis.
The newly formed church was recently granted tax-exempt status from the IRS and obtained non-profit approval within 30 days of filing, reports the Huffington Post.
Bill Levin, 59, founded the church in protest against the recently passed RFRA law, which, when first enacted, would have allowed companies to discriminate against individuals of different religions or sexual orientations. However, after pressure from national attention, Governor Pence went ahead to sign a revised version that would not allow companies to refuse goods or services to LGBT people or individuals of other faiths.
“If anyone smokes in our church, God bless them,” Levin said in an interview with the… Washington Post. “This is a church that shows a right way of living, a loving way of living. We are called ‘cannatarians’.”
“It’s a new religion for people living in our time,” Levin told the… Huffington Post. “All those old religions, boys walking through the desert without Dr. Scholls inserts, drinking wine from goat’s bladders, no compass, speaking Latin and Hebrew – I don’t agree with that. I drive past Burger Kings, bars and cornfields. I can’t empathize with an ancient magic book.”
The First Church of Cannabis also implements a list of righteous commandments, imploring churchgoers not to be an asshole or internet troll. It also lists marijuana as their only sacrament, as described in their last commandment:
Cannabis, ‘the medicinal plant’, is our sacrament. It brings us closer to ourselves and others. It is our source of health, our love, which heals us from illness and depression. We embrace it with all our hearts and minds, individually and as a group.
Levin is now looking for a building for the sacred house of the pot and plans to hold the first service on July 1, the first day the RFRA goes into effect.
Photo credit: Lamarihuana.com