Should Drugs Be Made Legal?

Posted on January 14, 2009. Filed under: News of the Day, Theological Issues |

UPDATE- Thursday, January 22, 2009– Here a couple of  stories that illustrates how bad it is in Mexico, this time Tijuana. If the USMC has banned it, it’s gotta be bad!:

www.usatoday.com/news/military/2009-01-21-camp_N.h

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/mexico/4299116/Mexico-police-chiefs-head-found-in-ice-box.html

Wednesday, January 14, 2009–The situation south of our border in Mexico is growing more grave every day as they are having what amounts to a civil war between the narco-terrorist gangs and the State. The violence has become so bad that the US military and Department of Homeland Security are making plans for a “What if Mexico fails as a state” scenario. This situation is largely the result of the demand for drugs and the laws against the drugs.

As a Christian who holds  a high view of Scripture as being inerrant, infallible, inspired and sufficient, I take seriously the command to “be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit” from Ephesians 5:18. Raised as a teetotaler fundamentalist, I am now aware of the fact that the wine Jesus drank and made at Cana was real wine with some degree of alcohol content. I do not drink, but I also do not judge those who do (though in my fundamentalist days I did). However, drunkenness, whether caused by alcohol, pot, cocaine, heroin, etc., is clearly a sin and is frequently considered a crime by society.

But that is the problem. Should everything that is sinful also be illegal? Coveting is a sin, but it is not illegal; in fact, our economic system, capitalism, runs because of human greed. Lust is a sin, adultery used to be illegal along with homosexuality, but both are legal in most places now it seems. So where do we draw the line between sins and make some illegal while others remain legal? Who makes that decision and what is the basis for the decision? Some people say you cannot legislate morals, yet every law is established upon someone’s morals, the only question is whose morals?

This dilemma is played out in our political process, our courts, schools and entertainment industry. And the Church? The voice of the Church in America is divided, weak and compromised and seems to have been lost. Although issues like abortion, racism and homosexuality have been the biggest issues discussed recently, in the  early 1900’s the issue was alcohol and the 18th Amendment was put into effect on Jan.16, 1920 banning the production, distribution, and sale of alcohol. This led to a black market, the rise of the big city gangsters, speakeasys, and a general flaunting of the law. The efforts at enforcement led to extreme violence in the cities as wars between various gangs over “turf” and the police and FBI. Public shootouts and gang attacks became common.

So too now in Mexico. Instead of alcohol it is pot, cocaine, heroin and meth. Executions of police officres, judges, rival gang members are common. Kidnappings and shootouts are common. The corruption apparently reaches throughout the Mexican courts, government, military and business communities. One man I work with told that just the other day, his father, who lives in a small town in Mexico, witnessed a shoot out on a road that involved machine guns and hand grenades. Small town Mexico? Hand grenades and machine guns?

This violence is already spilling across the border into America. There have been frequent cross border excursions by the Mexican “military”. Our Border Patrol are constantly beign shot at by drug gangs. The gang members are setting up shop in our cities. They bring with them the violence and corruption of Mexico and the drug cartels.

America’s response has been to reinforce the Border Patrol and the DEA and to give millions of dollars in assistance to the Mexican government, military and law enforcement. But we are losing the war. The problem is not getting better, it is getting worse.

The Church, forever reacting instead of leading, needs to examine the problem of the legalization of drugs. Is it possible to legalize something that is inherently bad because the option of keeping it illegal is worse? In my libertarian days I thought that legalization might be a good idea. For the last 20 years I have been thinking fighting the war on drugs was the best, Christian view. I am rethinking my position. There are times when certain sins might be better fought if the sins were legal.

I hate drugs and never trust druggies. In my Army days I threw away a lot of soldiers for drugs. I have very little compassion for druggies. But a druggie who buys his dope legally, just might not be so apt to be violent. And the drug lords might behave better if they owned companies and traded stock on the NYSE. And the government could then tax the drug lords who would be corrupted and made less violent by their need to be respected and to “fit in” with the other elites. The money we could save in prisons, courts and law enforcement could possibly help with rehab for repentant druggies.

We are losing the war on drugs. We might be losing the nation of Mexico- then what? Los Angeles? San Diego? El Paso? It is time for the Church to discuss the difference between sins and crimes.

Here are some stories from today that got me thinking along these lines:

www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_11444354

www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/01/our_drug_war_mext_door.html

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_in_the_United_States

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