by David Brumbelow
(David is a pastor and author of “Ancient Wine and the Bible.” gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com.)
Washington State has become the second state to legalize marijuana. Christians need to be prepared to speak to this issue.
REASONS TO OPPOSE MARIJUANA ARE HERE GIVEN IN THE FORM OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
- Marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol, and alcohol is legal. Alcohol is America’s number one drug problem. Why should we now unleash another harmful drug on America? When marijuana has been legalized, it has led to an increase in crime and societal problems. Alcohol and marijuana have been classified as “gateway drugs,” drugs that often lead to harder drugs. Isn’t one legal gateway drug enough?
- We have not won the war against drugs, including marijuana. So why not legalize it? We haven’t won the war against murder either. Should we therefore legalize murder? Should we just tax murder? Of course not. Passing a law against a harmful practice does not eliminate the practice. But it does limit it, stigmatize it, and punish the abusers.
- Medical marijuana should be legalized. The argument for medical marijuana usually is just a way of opening the door to the recreational use of marijuana. When a state legalizes smoking marijuana for pain, you can expect the next push to be for legalizing recreational marijuana. Christian abstainers, however, do accept the use of drugs for medicinal necessity, rather than recreational purposes. For some the pain-relieving aspects of marijuana loses appeal when you take away the idea of smoking a joint and getting high. Marijuana is already available in drug form that does not get you high, yet can be used for pain or other medical conditions. Barrett Duke of the ERLC explains, “Marijuana’s pain-relieving ingredient has been available by prescription for years. A person can purchase Marinol – right now – with a doctor’s prescription. The plain fact of the matter is that there are better and safer drugs [for pain]” (bpnews.net; 8-6-2012).
- People have a right to smoke marijuana if they choose. Our rights must sometimes end when a practice or substance becomes too harmful to ourselves and others. I know there is a fine line that sometimes has to be drawn, but dangerous drugs that harm the user and innocent others should be severely limited. Isn’t it strange that just as society is turning against smoking tobacco, it is now moving toward sanctioning smoking marijuana?
- We can get taxes from the legal sales of marijuana. We could also get taxes from legalizing other harmful practices. Invariably, when we allow and tax a practice that is harmful to society, we end up paying more to control it and deal with its consequences, than we receive in taxes. Government would do better to get their taxes up front and honestly, not by legalizing destructive behavior.
- You can’t legislate morality. Yes you can. Our laws against murder and theft legislate morality. The question is where you draw the line. Some things need to be criminalized, limited, and stigmatized.
- Penalties for marijuana should change. Perhaps this is true. Barrett Duke has suggested, “A system of increasing fines, penalties and requirements, like substance-abuse counseling, can be developed. Penalties even could include the loss of one’s driver’s license. Jail could be a last resort for habitual offenders” (-BP).
- Marijuana is not that bad. Rather, when marijuana has been legalized, it has magnified an existing problem. Marijuana has multiple toxic chemicals and gives a higher risk for cancer, psychosis, strokes, respiratory damage and heart attack. It causes impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, impairs driving and reaction time. It lowers the I.Q. of teenage smokers. Acceptance of another mind-altering recreational drug always changes things for the worse.
BIBLICAL REASONS TO OPPOSE MARIJUANA.
Every biblical injunction against alcohol is also a condemnation of marijuana and other recreational drugs.
- Scripture describes in detail the dangerous effects of alcoholic wine and says not to even look at it (Proverbs 23:29-35). It’s not much of a leap to take the same low view of other dangerous drugs.
- Scripture directly says wine is a mocker (Proverbs 20:1).
- Scripture commands us to be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; 1 Peter 5:8; etc.).
- Kings are commanded not to drink wine lest they pervert justice (Proverbs 31:4-5). Believers are called kings and priests (Revelation 1:6; 5:10) and neither should we take drugs that would cause us to do things we’d never do in our right minds.
- A Christian is to honor God with his mind and body (Matthew 22:37; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Both are adversely affected by alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs.
- Drinking hurts your Christian influence and leads others astray (1 Corinthians 8:9; 10:23).
One very big problem Christian social drinkers have is if they are justified in taking one mind-altering recreational drug (alcohol), then they have no legitimate argument against another legal mind-altering recreational drug (marijuana). The wise thing for Christians is to have nothing to do with either drug.
It should also be remembered that legal and moral are not synonymous. Whether alcohol, marijuana, or other harmful drugs are legal, a Christian answers to a higher standard.
Let’s not legalize another destructive drug.