Televangelist and founder of the Christian Coalition Pat Robertson, with whom I have major theological, philosophical, and political differences, recently said something that even I must acknowledge was important, truthful, and courageous.
Speaking about the criminal justice system on his “700 Club” television program, Robertson remarked that it was a “shocking statistic” that the United States has “the highest rate of incarceration of any nation on the face of the Earth.” Then he said something few “law and order” conservatives – and especially Christian conservatives – would dare to say: “More and more prisons, more and more crime. It’s just shocking, especially this business about drug offenses. It’s time we stop locking up people for possession of marijuana. We just can’t do it anymore…You don’t lock ‘em up for booze unless they kill somebody on the highway.”
This is not the first time that Robertson has come out for the legalization of marijuana. Back in 2010, he raised the same points:
We’re locking up people that have taken a couple puffs of marijuana and next thing you know they’ve got 10 years with mandatory sentences.
I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing it’s just, it’s costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people. Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That’s not a good thing.
Not everyone at the Christian Broadcasting Network, however, shared Robertson’s views. A spokesman claimed that Robertson “did not call for the decriminalization of marijuana.” He was merely “advocating that our government revisit the severity of the existing laws because mandatory drug sentences do harm to many young people who go to prison and come out as hardened criminals.”
Pat Robertson is exactly correct on the subject of marijuana possession. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he favors the legalization of other drugs or even the fully legalized cultivation, sale, and distribution of marijuana, but it does raise the important question of whether Christians should support the war on drugs.
Although I am a theological and cultural conservative, and neither advocate nor condone the use of mind-altering, behavior-altering, or mood-altering substances, I believe that Christians shouldn’t support the government’s war on drugs any more than they should support the government’s wars on poverty, obesity, dietary fat, cholesterol, cancer, and tobacco.
Not only do I not use what are classified by the government as illegal drugs, wouldn’t use them if they were legal, and would prefer that no one else do so whether they are legal or illegal, I would rather see people use drugs than the government wage war on them for doing so.
As a believer in moral absolutes, I consider the use of any drug for any reason other than because of a medical necessity to be dangerous, destructive, and immoral, but I also consider the government’s war on drugs to be dangerous, destructive, and immoral.
As an adherent to the ethical principles of the New Testament, I regard drug abuse to be a vice, a sin, and an evil that Christians should avoid even as they avoid supporting the government’s war on drugs.
As a Christian, I oppose root and branch every facet of the government’s war on drugs just as much as I oppose the use of drugs themselves.
Yes, I know I am being redundant. But that’s because some Christians still just don’t get it. So let me make myself perfectly clear: drugs are bad. Smoking crack is evil. Getting high on marijuana cigarettes or brownies is a vice. Snorting cocaine is destructive. Shooting up with heroin is sinful. Swallowing ecstasy is immoral. Injecting yourself with crystal meth is dangerous. But none of these things means that there should be a law against doing any of them. And it is a myth that those who favor marijuana legalization or drug decriminalization just want to get high without being hassled by the police. Pat Robertson certainly doesn’t. And I certainly don’t either.
There are many reasons why Christians should not support the war on drugs.
Read more at LewRockwell.com