Neo-American Church

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The Neo-American Church is a defunct religion founded in 1966 by Arthur Kleps, partly as satire and partly as an unsuccessful ploy to gain a religious exemption from American drug laws.[1]

The primal text of the religion was The Boo Hoo Bible, The Neo-American Church Catechism and Handbook (ISBN 978-0960038817), written by Kleps, which included, among other things, the declaration that the ultimate goal of mankind is (or should be) the bombardment and destruction of the planet Saturn.

Church clergy, known as Boo Hoos,[A] claimed LSD as a sacrament. One of the church's ministers, Judith H. Kuch, was arrested and put on federal trial on narcotics charges in 1968. Kuch claimed that her use of LSD was a religious requirement, analogous to the use of peyote by the Native American Church which had been given government protection.[2] The judge ruled that the church rituals did not merit protection under the First Amendment as he could find no evidence of "a religious discipline, a ritual, or tenets to guide one's daily existence"[3] and indeed that "...the [Neo-American Church] membership is mocking established institutions [and] playing with words... There is a conscious effort to assert in passing the attributes of religion but obviously only for tactical purposes."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lee, Martin A.; Bruce Shlain (1985). Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD, and the Sixties Rebellion. Grove Press. p. 105. ISBN 0-8021-3062-3. 
  2. ^ Stewart, Omer C. (1993). Peyote Religion. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 326. ISBN 0-8061-2457-1. 
  3. ^ Bates, Stephen (2009-02-11). "Blessed Be the Newsmakers. A new business model for the press: Declare itself a religion.". Slate. 
  4. ^ Brief excerpts from Boo-Hoo Bible and United States of America v. Judith H. Kuch

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Boo-hoo" or "big boo-hoo" is an obscure and now-archaic mildly derisory American slang term for "important person", similar to "muckety-muck" or "big shot".

External links[edit]