Introduction to World Religions - Social Justice Issue Paper
Legalization of Marijuana
Every Religion demonstrates unique aim to adhere to specific way of living. “Typically, members of the Religious institutes either take vows of evangelical chastity, poverty and obedience (the “Evangelical Counsels”) to lead life in imitation of Christ Jesus or those following the Rule of St. Benedict, the vow of obedience, stability (that is. To remain with this particular community till death and not seek to move to another), and “conversion of life”which implicitly includes the counsels of chastity and evangelical poverty” (Bowker, 2003). “The golden rule exists in all Religions in some form. It is a statement, in summary, of the basic requirement for all human behavior. It appears sometimes in positive form: Jesus said, Do to others whatever you have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). It also appears in negative form: Confucius said, “What you do not want done to you, do not do to others” (Analects 15.23) Since this is the fundamental obligation in all religions, why are so many religions involved in so many of the most bitter conflicts in the world?”(Bowker, 2003). With that question stated, we will explore and compare the view points offered by Catholicism and the United Methodist (Methodism) related to the social justice issue around the legalization of Marijuana.
The controversy over the legalization of illegal drugs in the U.S., has been an ongoing debate over the last decade or greater. From the early 1920's to the 1960's, Congress had enacted marijuana control laws, which saw a change in penalties for possession in the early 1950's, imposing minimum sentence of 2 years for first-offense, and again increased in 1956 based on the Narcotic Control Act, which classified marijuana with heroin. By 1965, the first-time drug offense carried a sentence of 5 to 20 years of imprisonment, and second offense carried 10-40 years. It was noted in 1956, the United States had 1.6 million arrests, and by 1970 's the annual numbers had tripled. The early 1970's, President
Nixon proposed the war on drugs, related to the drug epidemic, which also lead the urban American public to believe it was the cause of the increase in crime. 1971, a treaty with Columbia was signed with the United States, as the first step to the war on drugs. The goal was to raise awareness among lawmakers and to stop the production and trafficking from the Caribbean to the United States. By the 1980's, the war on drugs met challenges from the fight for power and the display of violence, observed from drug cartels. The violence and uprising led various murders from lawmakers, judges, and other public officials. Over the last few decades, noted changes with the legal status of marijuana has been seen. Eleven States have passed laws that decriminalize the possession of marijuana for personal usage, and other states continue to evaluate their state policies. In the 1990's, the worldwide epidemic of AID, sparked the consideration for medical usage, which in 2005 policy was presented to lawmakers for consideration as the “Last Resort and Fundamental Rights”. The policy review demonstrated Cancer and Aids patients experienced signs and symptoms from treatments, and marijuana alleviated the side effects, when no other methods had been successful for treatment. The history of marijuana continues to be a political controversy in the United States, which is observed at both the state and federal levels. Lawmakers are not the only ones undecided in regard to public and medical views push for legalization. Many opinions have been documented for the acceptance and nonacceptance for the legalization of marijuana. Points of view are divided in the medical communities with the psychiatric doctors pushing opposition due to substance abuse concerns in the general populations and adolescents. Churches/ or...
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