Co-belligerants with the Devil

I’ve been all over the map when it comes to the legalization of marijuana. Not that I have any question about the sinfulness of marijuana use. When God’s Word says “Be not drunk with wine,” that’s not the only thing it applies to. The effect of drunkenness can be gained with more than just wine. At least the Scripture says that wine can be good when used rightly. Paul never said smoke a little hash for your glaucoma’s sake. There is one main reason for smoking marijuana: to get high. Scripture forbids getting high, therefore smoking marijuana is sin. That’s not legalism, it’s obedience.

But the legalization of marijuana is a different matter. All crimes (as defined by Scripture) are sins but not all sins are crimes (thanks Doug Wilson). In the Old Testament the act of adultery was a crime punishable by stoning (with rocks, that is). Jesus said that lust in the heart was also a type of adultery. Thankfully the latter sin was not a crime. To apply this to the topic, just because smoking marijuana is a sin doesn’t mean there must be a law against it.

Nonetheless there are laws against it. So what’s a Christian to do? In the past I’ve argued that those laws should be removed. It was a part of my “Christian libertarian” platform. After all, isn’t this just another area of the ever-encroaching state dictating what we do? “Down with big brother” I said. But when I look around at the people who are calling for the legalization of marijuana, most of them are, shall we say, on the licentious side. The parades and protests in favor of this drug is made up not of people who have a zeal for the Lord’s Word but a zeal for no brakes. I’ve heard from others and I agree that until I became Reformed I never heard a Christian support legalizing pot. We know the arguments from Romans 14, Colossians 2, and the like. But in our strict, “unless it’s in the text I’m not going to obey it” perspective, we’ve missed a greater command: “Love not the world neither the things that are in the world.”

Part of wisdom means discerning good from evil (Heb. 5:14). Sure it may not be in the text that pot should remain illegal, but it’s time we wake up and take a look at what’s going on. Do we really think our government wants legalized pot because of their respect for godly liberty or is it an even easier way to control the masses (paging Aldous Huxley)? And when you are taking a stand for things, who are you standing with? Is it the godly, albeit rag-tag army of the saints or is it made of orcs, weak-kneed men, and a Saruman or two to make it look respectable (see Tolkien if you’re unsure of those references)? Sure I know about the “guilt-by-association” fallacy, but hear this: if you’re protesting for legalized pot and you’re the only one there whose eyes aren’t half closed, you should really get a clue. The overwhelming majority of people who support this are either in the world (non-Christians) or are moving toward the world (weak Christians). That’s not to say that there aren’t godly men who see it differently, but they are few and far between.

Am I saying that all Christians must rail against legalized marijuana at all times? No. I could foresee a time when laws against it wouldn’t be necessary because everyone understands how stupid it is. But that’s not our time. Our society is made up of immature people who can’t tell light from darkness. Legalization at this  crucial time won’t make that distinction better; it will only make it hazier.

1 Comment

  1. Blake says:

    My take is this… Should the state legislate everything that is a sin in scripture? Can we expect a secular government to legislate everything that is a sin in scripture? If not, how do we determine what should be made illegal and what should remain legal. Is there a scriptural bar set for which sins are so egregious that we should expect them to be made illegal before other sins?

    The way I see it is, a secular government can take each case as it goes or they can set a baseline for what should be made illegal. When you take each case as it goes you end up with inconsistencies such as marijuana. Forget the whole medicinal use debate. Cigarettes may not get you “high” but they do alter your chemistry. They are a drug even if they are not classified as such and if you were in the right situation, tobacco could certainly have enough of an affect to impair one’s judgement or driving ability. Tobacco is also much more damaging to the body than marijuana. Alcohol is may take a few drinks to get you drunk, but the vast majority of alcohol consumption is for the purpose of drunkenness. I would also submit that altered state of mind from alcohol to marijuana typically induce very different personalities in people. I say all of this to say, I think it is silly for anyone to make an argument that it is any worse than alcohol or tobacco (not that you are saying such.) So back to our 2 options. I prefer consistency over inconsistency and cronyism. (Also, I won’t bother talking about prescription drugs that have worse long term effects and are more addictive, yet remain legal because giant pharma companies are pumping money into it.)

    Yes, I’m a Libertarian and yes we are going to disagree on a number of topics, but I just can’t see laws making sense in the context of American Government and Society unless they are simply to stop one person or persons from infringing on the rights of another. Smoking marijuana in and of itself does not do that. However, making it illegal does create an increased prison population and an increased tax burden on ordinary citizens. There have been studies that have shown legalization reduces use. There is also the curious indications that most maintaining illegal status for marijuana lobbying is done by private corporate prison companies, big pharmaceuticals, and police unions.

    Is keeping marijuana illegal really doing anything to make this country a better place? I personally think that the whole of American Christendom would be better served if the money and energy placed into keeping things like marijuana illegal were focused into positive outreach, the church would be better served. Does that make me a weak Christian (don’t answer)? Perhaps, but I am also not willing to let people beside me with bed head, red eyes, and cheetos encrusted fingers affect my belief on how this government can best handle this situation and other similar situations.

    I know that legalization opens up a can of worms but I suppose that based on my comments you can guess how I would handle that can of worms as well.

    NOTE: I am not implying marijuana use is not a sin. Neither am I saying I would not give it to my mom if she were in intense pain.

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