COMMENTARY by STATE REP. DAVID SIMPSON
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 ever-changing 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 neighbor.
DAVID SIMPSON, a Longview Republican, has served in the Texas House of Representatives since 2011. This commentary was originally published in TribTalk and is reprinted here through a news partnership between the San Marcos Mercury and the Texas Tribune.
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