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Why Marijuana Decriminalization Should Be A Christian Issue


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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clark/why-marijuana-decriminali_b_665950.html

 

 

 

 

 

Last week, the Economist published an article illustrating a widespread failure of American Christianity. Entitled "Rough Justice" with the subheading "America locks up too many people, some for acts that should not even be criminal," the article detailed the practice of mass incarceration and revealed some startling facts: 1 in 100 American adults is living behind bars. When we narrow the field to young black men, it's 1 in 9. Put another way, we have incarcerated 1 percent of our neighbors.

 

Our war on drugs is one of the leading contributors. Those who insist that the United States is a "Christian nation" would be hard-pressed to find evidence for it in our nation's drug policy, which condemns millions of our neighbors to be warehoused behind bars for nonviolent offenses. The Economist article brings to light a systemic denial of Christian love and compassion, particularly toward those struggling with addiction.

 

But on the same day the Economist published "Rough Justice," something else happened that few would immediately associate with the biblical command to love our neighbor: the California Affiliates of the ACLU endorsed Proposition 19, the ballot initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Christian communities looking for a smarter, more compassionate, and more successful way forward in fighting drug addiction would do well to consider the merits of marijuana decriminalization.

 

The ACLU has long recognized that prosecution of marijuana crimes is among the most successful vehicles of mass incarceration that unfairly targets minorities. According to a statement from the ACLU of Southern California, California made 60,000 marijuana arrests in 2008, the majority of them young men of color. In Los Angeles County the marijuana possession arrest rate of African Americans is more than 300 percent higher than the same arrest rate of whites, although blacks made up less than 10 percent of the county's population, according to a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance. The same report also reveals that more white youth use marijuana than black youth, despite the dramatically skewed arrest rates.

 

Communities of faith have historically offered a different response to drugs, leading the charge when it comes to meaningful treatment for addiction. At the core of the Christian tradition is the belief that redemption is available to all, which is precisely why the two greatest commandments are so alike: loving God with all your heart is like loving your neighbor as yourself because God's love is equally available to you and your neighbor, no matter who you are or what you have done. Many Christian communities bring this conviction to action when it comes to drug addiction, opening their doors to clinics and 12-step programs and providing direct services like addiction treatment and counseling -- programs rooted in the value of compassion.

 

Yet that value of compassion, the belief in redemption, and the love of our neighbors as ourselves are all conspicuously absent from the practice of mass incarceration, the criminal justice system's answer to the problem of drug addiction. While treatment programs work towards healing, reconciliation, and empowering people with the tools to build a healthy life, incarceration only puts those goals farther out of reach.

 

California's marijuana policy is no different. Even a misdemeanor marijuana possession arrest can prevent someone from obtaining a job, a home, and even educational loans. By making employment and education even more difficult, this punitive approach to drug abuse all but eliminates the basic tools for pulling oneself out of the pit of addiction and into a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Often this leads to further drug use, crime, and ultimately incarceration.

 

A profoundly different response to sin is modeled by the Incarnation. In becoming human, Christ entered a broken world and took the burden of sin upon himself. He embraced sinners with open arms, using fellowship and love to offer a way out of sin and a path toward healing. Ultimately, the purpose of the Incarnation is to offer redemption and salvation to any and all sinners who accept the offer. This is the lynchpin that holds the two greatest commandments together. If we truly love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls, we inevitably turn to our neighbors and reflect God's Incarnational acceptance by loving them as we love ourselves.

 

California's Proposition 19 provides one unlikely opportunity to live out this Incarnational model. Far from signaling a Christian approval of using marijuana, Christian advocacy for decriminalization signals disapproval of the retributive response to drug abuse. Incarceration must be reserved for those who present real threats to the public safety of our communities, not for individuals struggling with addiction and marijuana abuse. As Christians, we already know the compassionate response to addiction is far more successful as a road to healing than the retributive one. Yet each year the prohibition of marijuana sends tens of thousands of youth -- disproportionately black youth -- into a cycle of incarceration and addiction with no light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Locking our up neighbors without a way to work towards healthy lives is a fundamental denial of compassion and love. Decriminalizing marijuana closes one pipeline into that cycle and makes it possible for more people to receive meaningful drug treatment. Prop 19 is about more than freeing up jail beds and raising tax revenue; it's about firmly standing by the value of compassion and refusing to address social problems by locking our neighbors behind bars. Throwing away the lives of young people as a response to smoking marijuana only engenders a far greater sin than drug abuse.

 

"Love your neighbor as yourself" should not be seen as a personal virtue to be checked at the door of the county courthouse. Christian communities already provide perhaps the nation's largest network of drug-addiction programs rooted in compassion and love. It's time they advocated for public policies that align with those same values.

 

 

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Guest Wayne

But we are a country founded by and bound to christianity. Just ask any republican and many democrats. Separation of church and state? Biggest constitutional joke ever pulled on America, especially those of the muslim and jewish faith. We protect churches from drugs; synagogues, mosques, and scientology not included. Some people's thinking is so silly but I applaud your effort all the same.

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The use of herbs by our earliest ancestors were the first 'Eucharists' before ANY church got hold of the "idea' and then used guilt and fear to manipulate our thinking, changing our need for 'spirtuality to a 'BELIEF IN' the Eucharist instead of the ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. of the Eucharist / plant / herb.

 

We have the right to search for answers to our questions about God, an afterlife, karma and other spiritual quests as we choose.

 

We should be free to follow our own faiths and beliefs IMHO as long as we do not harm other beings in the process... and we should TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for our beliefs.

 

It be de good ganja dat will save de world, brudda! .... along with compassion and openness.

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This man of God has seen first hand how miraculous this natural medicine is, in all of its forms. To many organized religions have fallen into the following of traditions of man and have become power hungry (aka control freaks). They preach their messages based on ideals that allow to the church itself to keep control of their members. When the financial well being of the brother of a Pope is the reason for no meat on Fridays, the purpose of the church has gone to far astray. Just as they have done when it comes to alcohol, medicine, relationships, and charging for forgiveness. I will stop before I get started on a rant.

 

I cannot understand why more clergy haven't accepted this wonderful medicine, even for extreme cases, yet are perfectly fine with their parishioners being doped up on opiates and other toxic addictive man made golden calves.

 

All natural things in moderation seems to me to be the balance that the human body was intended to thrive on. Go to far one way or the other and the body, mind, and spirit will show signs of suffering, just like these wonderful plants we are cultivating.

 

May all of your journeys be filled with open hearts and open minds.

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Holy crap on a stick is there ANYTHING Christians won't claim as their own? Well I am an atheist as is 420 Atheist and we still help people so what does that say rofl...Oh well

 

LOL

 

Kristos .. translated "Christ" is a title. Not a last name.

 

It means "the anointed one."

 

Anointed with what?

 

Anointed with a special "Holy" oil that has "Kannah Bos" as one of it's main ingredients.

 

So many of these Christians have gotten themselves into the place where they are now anti-Christ. Against the anointing.

 

They have become tricked into being against the anointing and against God's Holy herb.

 

The "claim as our own" started about 2600 years ago. During a burning bush kind of moment.

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LOL

 

Kristos .. translated "Christ" is a title. Not a last name.

 

It means "the anointed one."

 

Anointed with what?

 

Anointed with a special "Holy" oil that has "Kannah Bos" as one of it's main ingredients.

 

So many of these Christians have gotten themselves into the place where they are now anti-Christ. Against the anointing.

 

They have become tricked into being against the anointing and against God's Holy herb.

 

The "claim as our own" started about 2600 years ago. During a burning bush kind of moment.

 

 

Great video... I thought you might find this tidbit interesting.

 

 

It is all about Revelation my Brother... and the bible says the Gates of hell will not prevail.

 

Jesus asked if anyone knew who He was:

 

Mat 16:15
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Mat 16:17
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not
revealed
it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven...and upon this rock (What rock? The Rock of
revelation
!) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

See? Simon Barjona had it "revealed".... this is the key to the kingdom.

 

I know that the Ancient Hebrew Language is God's language, indeed Hebrew was the "signle language" spoken of in Gen 11:1, the existence of a single, universal language would be possible only if that language and all of its words came from a single source. A unified, organic language could not be produced by the haphazard, random word-making of individuals. Hebrew is the first language God spoke to mankind Admas.

 

OK, hope I didn't boar you with my personal details... but it leads up to this next bit of info I am going to share with you, (I think you might like it).

 

Please forgive me if I cover info you are already familiar with: (I hope the Hebrew scrip portrays correctly on your computer screen).

 

Let us break down the word Canna-Bosm via God perfect language... His word runs deeper than the human brains can comprehend.

 

The first word is:

Canna or qāneh looks like this in Hebrew
קֶנה

The first letter is called "quph" and the letter means - Shining/ Emitting light.

The second letter is called "nun" and it means - New/ Regeneration.

The third letter is called "hey" and it means - Revelation/ or the "Aha" moment when something dawns on you.

The sedond word is:

Bossom or beśem
ֶבֶּשׂם

The first letter is called "Bet" and it means - In/ Inside.

The second letter is called "Shin" and it means - to devour/consume

The third letter is called "Mem" and it means - blood/ juice.

Put it all together and what does the ancient Hebrew language of God say about our Cannabis plant?

 

The shining of new revelation is inside when the juice is eaten.

 

Broken down leter by letter God's Revelation is perfect... and the gates of hell shall not prevail.

 

I Am.

 

Hope that was clear for you, and I enjoy sharing what God has shown me!!

 

Peace!!!!

 

 

Chris Campbell/ United Cannabis Consumers

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Thanks for the great article Lansing. The point i took home from the article is that Christians need to do a lot less fighting against people, and do a lot more fighting FOR people, especially the (often) under powered/under privileged. I think people that are atheists as well as people of other faith systems and religions could all agree that the world would be a better place if Christians did a lot less condemning, and a lot more loving in the form of justice.

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Thanks for the great article Lansing. The point i took home from the article is that Christians need to do a lot less fighting against people, and do a lot more fighting FOR people, especially the (often) under powered/under privileged. I think people that are atheists as well as people of other faith systems and religions could all agree that the world would be a better place if Christians did a lot less condemning, and a lot more loving in the form of justice.

 

 

1337, I thoroughly agree.

 

Most people 'FOLLOW' a religion rather than 'LIVE' their religion.

 

When we believe something else, or 'someone' else can 'forgive' us we fail to take responsibility for the WAY we live our lives, even going as far as 'killing' in the name of God.

 

Our 'BELIEFS' will continue to be MANIPULATED by others until we wake up and realize the ONLY religion there is will be found INSIDE of us, and THAT which is inside us CANNOT be REVEALED to us by ANYONE other than ourselves.

 

We can get help along the way from others, but they cannot live our lives for us nor can they or should they tell us HOW or WHAT to believe.

 

And KARMA is real A** kicker.

 

 

 

.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Too funny..Christians are just always going to quote crap from the silly book of stories..I just get sick of this particular religion having to try and run everything all the way down to what we can see on television. Now they want to claim this movement as well? For real stick to the pro life judgmental angry letter writing over "bad" cartoons..We have this from here ll..Not that all ya are that way but come on it's not a Christian movement its just an important movement!!!

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Too funny..Christians are just always going to quote crap from the silly book of stories..I just get sick of this particular religion having to try and run everything all the way down to what we can see on television. Now they want to claim this movement as well? For real stick to the pro life judgmental angry letter writing over "bad" cartoons..We have this from here ll..Not that all ya are that way but come on it's not a Christian movement its just an important movement!!!

 

:) That took a while.

 

You don't mind if I ask for lightning to strike our enemies, do you?

 

I figure that we can use all the help we can get.

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Because I am a Christian, you would judge me "out of hand" when I have absolutely nothing against anyone?

I may disagree with you, but I can do that respectfully and still hold a good conversation - while I roll one for us to share.

It seems as if you are expecting expecting a problem, so you load both barrels and go hunting.

We all have the opportunity to believe as we choose, and we can discuss those principals without having any animosity; can't we?

It all comes down to the individual, IMHO.

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