Would Jesus persecute drug offenders? No

Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2007

The justices of the Supreme Court should take a cue from the nonsensical banner that inspired their decision to limit student free speech. It might do them some good to take a few bong hits for Jesus. Before sacrificing more civil liberties at the altar of the drug war, they should ask themselves, "What would Jesus do?" Would Jesus persecute, incarcerate and deny forgiveness to nonviolent drug offenders? Zero tolerance is decidedly unchristian.

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Morally, the drug war is wrong. On a practical level, the drug war is an abject failure. According to the FBI, there were 786,545 marijuana arrests in 2005, the vast majority of which were for simple possession. America is one of the few Western countries that punishes citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis, yet lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the United States than in any European country (www.monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/espad_pr.pdf).

Thanks to the war on some drugs, the Constitution is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and the land of the free now has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This is not a policy worthy of constitutional exemptions. The drug war has failed to keep drugs out of prisons, much less schools. The Supreme Court should prioritize protecting civil liberties over perpetuating drug war failure.

Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Arlington, Va.

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