Pubdate: Thu, 05 Mar 2015
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2015 The Dallas Morning News, Inc.
Author: David Simpson
Note: David Simpson represents District 7 in the Texas House and has 
filed a bill that would end marijuana prohibition in the state. His 
essay was published first by Texas Tribune.


Marijuana Is Not God's Mistake for the Government to Fix, Says Rep. 
David Simpson of Longview

As a Christian, I recognize the innate goodness of everything God 
made and humanity's charge to be stewards of the same. In fact, it's 
for this reason that I'm especially cautious when it comes to laws 
banning plants. I don't believe that when God made marijuana he made 
a mistake that government needs to fix.

Regrettably, that's not the course we have pursued on more than one 
occasion. In the name of protecting the public, certain substances 
have been declared evil and contraband. So evil are these substances 
that state and federal agents are empowered to enforce laws with 
little to no regard for constitutional protections of individual 
rights, the sanctity of one's home or the right to travel freely.

You would think that our country's history with alcohol prohibition - 
an era marked by bootlegging, organized crime, government corruption 
and a rise in crime in general - would have prevented us from making 
the same mistake again.

But our current "war on drugs" policies, though well-intended, have 
accomplished the exact opposite, spurring a proliferation of 
everchanging exotic designer drugs and a disregard for constitutional 
protections in the name of eliminating drugs at any cost. Just think 
of no-knock warrants, stop-and-frisk, civil asset forfeiture and 
billionaire drug lords.

The time has come for a thoughtful discussion of the prudence of the 
prohibition approach to drug abuse, the impact of prohibition 
enforcement on constitutionally protected liberties, and the 
responsibilities that individuals must take for their own actions.

The Bible warns about excessive drinking, eating and sleeping 
(Proverbs 23:21), but it doesn't ban the activities or the substances 
or conditions associated with them - alcohol, food and fatigue. 
Elsewhere, feasting and wine are recognized as blessings from God.

Scripture stresses respect for our neighbor's liberty and conscience, 
moderation for all and abstinence for some.

Should we be concerned for our friends and neighbors who abuse a 
substance or activity? Yes, we should help them through sincere and 
voluntary engagement, but not with force and violence.

Is there a place for prohibition? Yes, a prohibition of aggression 
(Romans 13). Our laws should prohibit and penalize violent acts. This 
is the jurisdiction of the magistrates under the new covenant - harm 
to one's neighbor.

Civil government should value everything God made and leave people 
alone unless they meddle with their neighbors. 
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom