3. Drug policy reform
Drug abuse is a major concern in many Christian denominations and circles. The Bible refers to the Christian’s body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and warns us against harming it, which leads many Christians to support drug prohibition. While it is true that many drugs are dangerous, marijuana and the opium poppy (from which heroin is derived) are both naturally occurring plants, meaning that God made them. So to say these substances are bad is to say that a creation of God is bad. Further, most Christians are already fine with alcohol, tobacco, and many other dangerous drugs being legal (including synthetic drugs and drugs that can be obtained without a prescription); if they’re ok with manmade drugs being legal, than why would they oppose the legalization of natural drugs? Both marijuana and opium can be used as effective pain relievers, and to oppose a substance that can bring pain relief seems cruel and contrary to Christian values such as compassion and love. Consider also the people who are imprisoned for doing illegal drugs. Is that the proper way for them to be treated? Should they be subjected to such punishment, along with the life-destroying effects of being isolated from society for so long and having a felony on their record, and the high likelihood that they will be sexually assaulted in prison? Two passages easily come to mind that talk about how Christians should treat others.
The first is Matthew 7:12:
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
Commonly called the Golden Rule, this is a simple yet powerful commandment for how to treat our fellow man. With regards to drug usage, would a Christian want to receive the punishment that users of illegal drugs currently receive? Would they continue supporting candidates and laws that facilitate that punishment if they thought about it in this way? The next passage that discusses how you should treat your neighbor, Matthew 25:31-40, is even more powerful:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
Think about that for a minute, especially the last line. If a Christian supports the arrest and imprisonment of peaceful drug users, then that means they support the same being done to Jesus. That’s something rarely brought up in churches. Speaking of churches, many pastors, spiritual leaders, and relief organizers used one or more illegal drugs before they were saved. Paul, author of most of the New Testament and one of the greatest examples of a life dedicated to Christ, murdered Christians before he was saved. Imagine how different the world would look if Paul or anybody else who lived such a vastly different lifestyle before their salvation had been imprisoned instead of repenting and doing incredible works. For all these reasons, Christians should support, if not full legalization, at least the rescheduling of natural drugs such as marijuana and opium, and a reduction in the penalties for illegal drug use.