Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Toward a Moral Drug Policy.
Dennis, Richard J. (1991).
Washington, DC: Cato Institute.
stapled, 18-page pamphlet, Cato's Letters series.
Contents: 1 essay, information
on the Cato Institute.
Note: This is not primarily
about psychoactive sacraments, but Dennis's approach to drug policy
is grounded in a religious perspective combined with libertarian,
public health, and economic elements.
Excerpt(s): Why should
the clergy actively oppose the war on drugs? I can think of five
good reasons firmly anchored in the Judeo-Christian ethic. First,
it does more harm than the evil it aims to remove, thus failing
the test of St. Augustine's just war theory. The major argument
against legalization-repeated like a mantra-is that there would
be a concomitant increase in the use of legal drugs and consequent
addiction. ... But the poll that I commissioned showed that the
fear of increased addiction is exaggerated to serve the interests
of the drug warriors . Less than 4 percent of respondents
said they would be very likely to try legal marijuana, and less
than 1 percent would be very likely to try legal cocaine. ...
Second, the drug war ignores the proverb, "He
that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind." Unlike
the Vietnam War, the drug war is a war at home. It is being waged
against a people whose main fault-in addition to lack of personal
discipline-is their lack of bourgeois sensibility. ... And the
innocent victims of this war aren't the peasants of My Lai but
infants and schoolchildren shot down in our ghettos. ...
Third, the clergy should help society to heed the
biblical injunction. "Render therefore unto Caesar
the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are
God's." Drug use may be a very bad idea, but like other bad
ideas it can only be combatted through persuasion. A caesar or
czar who acts as a censor usurps the role of moral arbiter. Should
we defend the right to sin while encouraging voluntary repentance
rather than crush moral freedom under a jackboot? Government's
invasion of a sphere more properly reserved for clergy and counselors
risks upsetting the delicate balance between God's world and Caesar's.
Fourth, drug warriors violate a central Christian
ethic by hating the sinner instead of the sin. "User accountability"
is a not-so-subtle code phrase for a reign of terror over ordinary
people. The national drug czar wants to behead dealers; the Los
Angeles police chief proposes to line up and shoot users. The
politicians and drug warriors get lots of milage from demonizing
drug users. ...
Fifth, the drug war violates the Golden Rule of
doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. None of
us is free of vice or temptation. Religion rests on the idea that
individuals can recognize their moral failings and choose to seek
guidance and absolution. Does any one of us really want to be
jailed for our moral shortcomings? ... (pages 11-13)
There are three important audiences to whom clergy
should address their efforts to halt the drug war.
First, the clergy must remind society at large that
government is not the greater power that will save us from ourselves.
... In an Age of Disbelief, our values are up for grabs. But religious
leaders won't prevail by quietly acquiescing as the government
usurps their moral authority.
Second, the clergy must remind those in government
that the grotesque disproportionallity of sentences for infractions
of the drug laws threatens to undermine our government's claim
to legitimacy. ...
Finally, the clergy must remind their flock of the
crucial difference between vice and crime. ... If vice is allowed
to equal crime, then we come perilously close to legislating
religion. (page 14)
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This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP