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Guest Editorial - A Christian's Duty and the War on Drugs
by Richard Jones

In waging the Drug War we are arresting and imprisoning the adult sons and daughters that the Drug War is supposed to be protecting, and in the process we are creating legions of socially dysfunctional outcasts whom we will have to deal with in the future.

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Most Christians believe the future holds a kingdom ruled by God, a theocracy where the holy will of God is the law of the land and the desire of peoples' hearts. But how are Christians to live in the meantime? We want people to live rightly and in harmony with each another, but can we, or better yet, should we use force of law to compel everyone to live according to God's standards? While we should personally live by God's standards and share His love with others, we cannot and should not compel everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike to live according to Christian principles. Jesus did not force others to follow His ways. He did as He wants us to do -- live our beliefs.

Whose Dogma Would We Use?

Even if we were to impose a Christian moral standard for living in America today, whose doctrine would we apply? By some Christians' standards eating pork would be illegal. With some persuasions grape juice is OK, but wine is wrong; with certain churches women in pants would be a crime. With some sects even electricity is off limits. So to what moral standard do we look? Since the Kingdom of God does not yet rule on earth with Christ Himself to show us the way, we must allow our earthly government to be the foundation of our law. That raises the questions by what moral authority do we the people allow the government to rule? and how should our government rule?. Our founding fathers recognized man as Gods highest creation and as such they set the standard in our United States Constitution, an instrument of maximum personal freedom with restrictions intended to prevent government's undue interference in its citizens' lives. The government standard of morality then is one of personal freedom with protection from others who may wish to restrict our freedom or cause us harm.

Our government should allow us the freedom to achieve success in our personal and professional lives, and prevent disruption of our lives by those who may hamper our quest for fulfillment, or who thrive by taking our means of livelihood. In other words, we should be free to live our lives according to our own standards, free from others who want to hurt us or steal or destroy our property. In that way we can live our lives as Christians, and allow others to live as they see fit -- as long as they don't limit our life, liberty or pursuit of happiness.

The War On People Who Use Drugs

The US Government's War on Drugs started with good intentions, namely: to save people, particularly our children, from the damage that can be caused by the misuse of some drugs. While that is a noble cause, the ends don't justify the means -- in fact the means don't even achieve the desired ends. More damage and death are caused by the war waged on people, in the name of the War on Drugs, than could ever be caused by the use or abuse of drugs alone.

Many families are broken and lives destroyed not because of the effects of drug use, but because of harsh laws attempting to govern possession of banned drugs, and the unintended outcomes that result from those laws. The laws against drugs are founded on the erroneous assumption that all drug use is harmful. In fact cannabis has been found to be extremely safe. In 1988 after two years of exhaustive hearings into scientific research the US Drug Enforcement Agency's own administrative law judge, Francis Young, found that marijuana is one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man. Even aspirin kills people, yet there is no known lethal dose of cannabis for humans. Researchers have found cannabis to be less addictive than caffeine, if considered addictive at all. This is not to say that people cant have problems with drug abuse, but why compound their problems by creating artificial consequences? As Dr. Andrew Weil put it, "There are no good or bad drugs; there are only good or bad relationships with drugs."

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May 01 2002, 03:25:22
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