Pubdate: Thu, 04 Dec 2008
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2008 Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: Erin Keim


The Bangor Daily recently published an article about a local religious
group that supports the responsible religious use of marijuana, "Group
uses marijuana as sacrament" (BDN, Nov. 29). I was surprised by how
much the article focused on the negative and controversial
connotations associated with the stereotypical use of marijuana use
rather than the church's varying facets of belief. Unfortunately, this
is the first attention given by the general public, which will,
inadvertently, cast a negative outlook on this truly caring
organization. Equally unfortunate is the fact that this group does not
in any way support the general legalization of marijuana is a mere

A much more adequate explanation of this organization's true beliefs
is provided biweekly at an open floor discussion. Most people who read
and judge this organization solely on Judy Harrison's article will,
unfortunately, never attend this discussion and pose their concerns to
the source, face to face.

When I heard of the group, I attended the discussion to be truly
informed, and attended defensively. Immediately, I realized that this
group required no personal defense mechanisms or protections of any
kind. They do not preach hate, anarchy, or antiestablishment. Quite
the opposite, they speak of tolerance, and only tolerance, of all
creeds, races, sexualities, etc. This is no different from what the
Bible teaches, literally or through inference.

Intolerance spawned of rash thought and ignorance has become a spear
to prod those different from ourselves. Religious freedom is upheld by
our Constitution, and should not be ignored by a public who is afraid
of diversity in opinion or creed. Even if we don't believe in this
church's practices or don't choose to practice as they do, we should
let these followers practice their faith with the same understanding
we are allowed to practice our own.

Erin Keim

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