An organization representing six hundred church congregations in the northeastern U.S. has voted in favor of a resolution to end the so-called “War on Drugs.” The New England Conference of United Methodist Churches passed Resolution 15-203, which called for a “genuinely new system” to deal with drug use, focusing on “restorative” rather than “punitive” justice.
Saying that it “supports seeking means other than prohibition to address the problem of substance abuse,” the resolution points out that the War on Drugs “has failed to achieve the goal of eliminating, or even reducing, substance abuse.” It also boldly and appropriately blames drug prohibition for creating dangerous black markets, which have in turn led to overdoses, gang violence and the spread of disease.
The resolution also mentions prisons becoming overcrowded, often with non-violent people, and perhaps most boldly, states that,
“[t]o people of color, the ‘War on Drugs’ has arguably been the single most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery.”
“[i]n our society, the story of the poor and marginalized is one of mass incarceration, racial injustice, and the breakdown of families caused by the War on Drugs.”
For decades now, drug prohibition has served as an excuse for dramatic increases in funding, equipment and police powers at the federal, state and local levels. Even if one assumes benign intentions behind the creation of such laws, it takes a special level of willful blindness to still claim that the War on Drugs is doing any good for anyone other than politicians and government agencies which profit from the persecution of drug users.
Like alcohol prohibition before, despite all the sting operations, police raids, prosecutions and incarcerations trying to violently stamp out a habit, the War on Drugs has led only to political corruption and police abuse. Even worse, a dramatic increase in both organized crime and petty crime.
At this point, it would be absurd for anyone to think that if only those in power would do a few more drug raids, or incarcerate more people, that illegal narcotics will suddenly disappear from this country.
These people can’t keep drugs out of their own prisons!
When militarized police violently invade yet another private residence in response to an allegation that someone has been selling a product to willing customers, can they really imagine it’s going to make a positive difference? Can they really imagine themselves to be the good guys? Or do they just continue to do it for the feeling of power it gives them? Maybe they don’t think about it at all, and just keep blindly following orders because they were told to, regardless of how many lives they destroy in the process.
Whatever the motivation or thought process of those in power, the failed and horribly destructive “War on Drugs” will likely continue until the people simply refuse to tolerate it anymore. Six hundred church congregations calling for a more humane, effective and rational approach to the problem is most certainly a step in the right direction. If someone is suffering from drug addiction, will adding the fear of being kidnapped and locked in a cage improve that person’s life, or improve society? Of course not.
The hypocrisy of the religious zealots who fight to keep the war on drugs going is mind-blowing. If they simply opened the bible they use to force their message, they would see that even God is against the war on marijuana.
Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it….’ – Genesis 1:29
As the resolution by the United Methodist Churches rightfully points out, the Christian approach to dealing with people who are having problems is to help them, not to attack them. And that isn’t only a Christian concept – it’s common decency. Our hat is off to those churches for daring to publicly call for an end to the violent, immoral, barbaric and destructive “War on Drugs.”