A couple of weeks ago, we stirred up somewhat of a hornet’s nest with our BreakPoint commentary: “Marijuana Madness.”
In it, I suggested that we slow down this accelerating push for legalization and I gave a couple of scientific reasons quoting some recent research: (1) marijuana use is addictive, and (2) marijuana use may produce “deeply pathologic consequences.”
Given these medical unknowns, why such a sudden rush to legalize? And I also pointed out that human beings have been created for a higher purpose than simply getting “high.”
On Facebook, the commentary was in our all-time top 10 commentaries ever in terms of reach—and that was without any help. In fact, we attempted to “boost” this particular post on Facebook to reach even more people, but the folks at Facebook turned us down—with no explanation!
A lot of you who heard or read “Marijuana Madness” supported our perspective, and a lot of you disagreed, and even strongly. Like, “Wow,” strongly. So please let me clarify a few things:
First, some assume that because of our opposition to legalizing pot, we must support harsh sentences for those who use it. That’s not true. Given our long association with Prison Fellowship, founded by ex-prisoner Chuck Colson, we absolutely do not support long sentences for minor offenses—especially in this case. We’re on record that prison should be reserved for dangerous offenders. In fact, just last month my BreakPoint colleague Eric Metaxas backed the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act and caught grief for being too soft on crime!
And you might be interested to know that the notion that the U. S. incarcerates large numbers of pot users is false. According to Rolling Stone, while 750,000 people are arrested each year for marijuana-related offenses, only about 400 are incarcerated just for possession alone.
Second, I’ll add that I think research on the possible medical benefits of marijuana should continue. Studies suggest this drug can treat or prevent glaucoma, control epileptic seizures, prevent the spread of cancer, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, and ease the pain of multiple sclerosis.
But of course, there’s a world of difference between controlled medical use of marijuana, and lighting it up for recreational purposes. The intent to heal or help is worlds apart from the intent to get high.
And some legalization advocates posted to our Facebook page that we have more important things to worry about than pot. For example, Rachel said, “The number who try cigarettes and get addicted? Much higher...let’s choose our battles.” Leah said, “Pharmaceutical drugs are much more dangerous than marijuana!” And Becky said, “And while we’re at it, why don’t we talk about how infinitely more dangerous alcohol is?”
These folks have a point, but saying other substances are also “dangerous” doesn’t change at all whether pot is dangerous, does it? And if those (at least for the sake of argument) are good examples of the danger of legalization, why would we make the same mistake by legalizing something else potentially harmful? And shouldn’t we at least discuss the dangers first?
And even then, while abuse and addiction is always bad, there is this difference between the substances mentioned by our critics and pot: it is possible to use tobacco and alcohol with an intent other than to get high. But the only intent in using marijuana recreationally is to get high. And as I said in the previous BreakPoint, for the Christian, that’s not a legitimate intent.
Paul said because of our freedom in Christ, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is expedient.” Outside of its medical uses and whatever its legal status, I’m just not convinced that a case can be made for pot use, especially for Christians, but also for everyday citizens.
Now whether you agree or disagree, I hope you’ll like us and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. That way you can join in on these conversations every day.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: November 5, 2015