I don't recall the last time I wrote about marijuana use. Maybe never, save in passing.
Although I went to college in the 1960s, I never smoked marijuana. Never wanted to, though I engaged in other vices. The closest I came to smoking pot was one evening when I had in my car several fellow students along with one of our journalism professors. The professor got out some weed and passed it around as I drove to wherever we were going.
And I remember being at a party in Kansas City back in the 1970s or early 1980s when some of the folks there passed around some joints. I declined the invitation.
Today, however, marijuana possession and use is being decriminalized fairly quickly in different states, and it has caused me to wonder what people of faith should think or do about this.
Perhaps the most interesting and most damning piece I've read about that question was posted recently on Patheos.com.
It took a look at the ways the criminal justice system has handled marijuana-related arrests of both blacks and whites. And it quotes at length a book about all of that and more.
The piece reports a terrible inequality in the way the law has treated blacks and whites. The Patheos blog entry quotes author Michelle Alexander this way: “The fate of millions of people—indeed the future of the black community itself—may depend on the willingness of those who care about racial justice to re-examine their basic assumptions about the role of the criminal justice system in our society.”
And then the piece adds: "Alexander implicates the Christian community in her statement because we are those 'who care about racial justice.'”
I don't know what to do about legalization of pot. All I know is that the current system is deeply flawed and that it results in a racially biased criminal justice system. And that's something people of faith should stand against.
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LEARNING FROM COLBERT
The Catholic magazine America has this intriguing piece about what the church can learn from comedian Stephen Colbert, who is, as you may know, a Catholic. Turns out the piece offers some pretty good advice for any faith community seeking to be relevant in the 21st Century.