In the 2013 elections, two states legalized the recreational use of marijuana, despite the federal government's laws against it. These political shifts both create and reflect changes in American culture, while positions on the ethical and moral consequences of the personal use of drugs range from enthusiastic support to entrenched resistance. Arguments about these actions have focused on the unequal enforcement of existing laws and discrimination in prosecution of them, as well as on the health—both physical and spiritual—of substantial drug use.
Yet, according to opinion polls, Americans' support for decriminalizing personal drug use is steadily increasing. Many religious leaders have expressed concerns about the anticipated consequences of decriminalization on individuals, families, and society. How should faith communities respond to the growing debate about recreational drug use, and the changing climate around treating drug use as a criminal matter? If the government loosens laws and reduces or abolishes penalties for personal drug use, is it respecting individual liberties, or failing to protect the health and wellbeing of its citizens?
Nimue Brown, Pagan blogger, Druid Thoughts
Drugs are only able to change your perceptions because they interact with your brain chemistry. You are part of a process.
David French, Evangelical blogger, The French Revolution
Legality is not morality, and all mind-altering drugs should be considered in the context of purpose, necessity, and effect.
Ben Witherington, Evangelical blogger, The Bible and Culture
One of the clearest signs of a decaying or dying society is its need to run from reality, or medicate that reality just to survive day to day.
Karen Spears Zacharias, Evangelical blogger
Here are some of the more unpleasant facts about marijuana use.
Tyler Glodjo, Evangelical blogger, Christ and Pop Culture
While opinions vary on legalizing marijuana, let us not be fooled into thinking this isn't a racial justice issue.
Roger Wolsey, Progressive Christian blogger, The Holy Kiss
The war on drugs has been lost and it’s partly because of people trying to legislate morality.
Alan Atchison, Christian blogger, Geek Goes Rogue
We need only look at our culture's prevalent use of alcohol and tobacco as a preview of what's to come.
Alexander Sharp, Community Renewal Society
If we take seriously the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, we will seek national policies that offer treatment and compassion.
Natasha Helfer Parker, Mormon blogger, The Mormon Therapist
Let us not ignore the complexities of addiction, shame those who are victim to all types of chronic trauma, and fail to address the underlying issue of poverty.
Peg Aloi, Pagan blogger, The Witching Hour
We worship gods and goddesses of the elements, the celestial bodies, the living flora and fauna...why not make a better effort to avail ourselves of the healing powers of Nature's gifts?
Natasha Helfer Parker
Addiction can be a difficult topic to understand. Most of what the scientific community has uncovered about addiction can seem to go against LDS beliefs regarding “free agency.” [Read More...]
There’s a narrative that comes up whenever addiction is discussed publicly nowadays: the narrative in which the disease of addiction essentially replaces a person’s free will. [Read More...]
Karen Spears Zacharias
There was a dead child on the floor but that was of little concern to the man pacing. He had pushed a dining room table and chairs up against a hollow-wood door, in a frantic effort to keep out the EMTs and law enforcement officials who had descended on his home like August gnats. [...]
It’s one thing to use the power of the law to discourage self-destructive behavior. It’s something very different to spend billions of dollars to throw people in jail because they want to get high.
Drugs and other mind-altering substances have been used in a sacred context for millennia. It is only when drug use is taken out of this sacramental and communal context that it becomes a vice. If a drug is taken to alter one's consciousness for a sacred purpose - to obtain information or abilities inaccessible to normal consciousness - then it is a rare occurrence, and for a good reason: in the service of one's community.