The Drug Enforcement Administration has raided several legal medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington State. While some question or downplay what is happening, the evidence indicates there is a crackdown in progress. (The DEA, incidentally, is deeply involved in the illegal Federal domestic spying on US citizens)
As more and more states either decriminalize medical marijuana or go even further, the Federal Government has reacted by ignoring state laws and enforcing their own. I’ve seen many Christian leaders act like it is somehow self-evident that Christians must side with the federal government.
Even if one believes that marijuana use is always and everywhere a sin, it does not follow that every sin must always be a crime. People are permitted to do all sorts of self-destructive things without having to risk the added danger of being raided by the police.
Back in during the era of so-called “progressivism,” one of the public voices for Bible-believing orthodoxy was J. Gresham Machen, a Presbyterian minister and professor of Princeton Seminary until he was booted out for his conservative views.
Machen, in addition to believing in Christ, believed in freedom, maturity, and responsibility. He opposed aggressive war, conscription, public education, and other “big government” developments. You can get an idea of Machen’s opposition to over-regulation from his letter opposing jay walking laws:
“If they are intended to protect the pedestrian from himself, they are paternalistic. I am opposed to paternalism. Among other far more serious objections to it is the objection that it defeats its own purpose. The children of some over-cautious parents never learn to take care of themselves, and so are far more apt to get hurt than children who lead a normal life. So I do not believe that in the long run it will be in the interests of safety if people get used to doing nothing except what a policeman or a traffic light tells them to do, and thus never learn to exercise reasonable care.”
Machen also opposed national alcohol prohibition, the “drug war” of his own days. H. L. Mencken wrote in his obituary for Machen,
“In his own position there was never the least shadow of inconsistency. When the Prohibition imbecility fell upon the country, and a multitude of theological quacks, including not a few eminent Presbyterians, sought to read support for it into the New Testament, he attacked them with great vigor, and routed them easily. He not only proved that there was nothing in the teachings of Jesus to support so monstrous a folly; he proved abundantly that the known teachings of Jesus were unalterably against it. And having set forth that proof, he refused, as a convinced and honest Christian, to have anything to do with the dry jehad. This rebellion against a craze that now seems so incredible and so far away was not the chief cause of his break with his ecclesiastical superiors, but it was probably responsible for a large part of their extraordinary dudgeon against him. The Presbyterian Church, like the other evangelical churches, was taken for a dizzy ride by Prohibition.”
I believe someday historians will say similar things about Christian support for our Federal drug war. All it does is aggrandize politicians and fill our prisons with non-violent law breakers. Christians should preach sobriety and responsibility over against drug abuse and addiction. But that doesn’t entail they should preach the organization of mass violence against people who don’t submit to their good advice. It certainly doesn’t obligate them to side with the Federal government’s police raids when a state has changed its laws.
Besides all that, alcohol prohibition required an amendment to the Constitution. Where is the amendment that authorized the Federal government to outlaw the use of certain plants or chemicals?