Christians appear hellbent on hating Cannabis despite the growing trend towards a more rational policy on this contentious issue. One need only look at the current antics taking place in and outside the Pretoria High Court to witness an example of a group which is currently imposing its moral will on others, all in the name of religion.
Now before anyone gets on their high horse and crucifies me for putting all Christians in the same box, that certainly isn’t the case. Life is not a binary thing where we all wear generic social, cultural or religious labels that finitely define who we are. We are all multifaceted individuals who have more than a simple single dimension to our personalities and roles within society. Although I wish I could say the same about this small section of old testament fundamentalists who are currently dragging their religion through the mud. These dudes can certainly never be accused of putting the “fun” in fundamentalist.
Cannnabis means many things to many people. The same can be said for religion, particularly Christianity as it is by far the dominant player within our mostly religious nation. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine with me. Praise who ever you like, follow whatever moral guide floats your boat or don’t. That is completely your choice to make and feels like the neighborly thing for me to do. Live your life in consideration of those around you and hopefully receive the same consideration.
What does grind my cheese though is when when the advocate representing this edge of the “judeo-christian” anti-cannabis wedge refers to one of the world’s leading drug and drug policy experts, Professor David Nutt, as a “moron” after many frustrating days of being unable to crack Nutt’s testimony. This was admittedly a moment when Willis was not expecting the courtroom mics and cameras to accidentally still be running during a tea break. This wrong place at the wrong time comment will only therefore be relevant in the court of public opinion, but the bong water has been spilled none the less and may leave a lingering odour over the proceedings. That the Doctors For Life advocate had also earlier requested that the Judge not interrupt him was probably the first indication that it may be a rough week for Adv. Willis.
Anti-Cannabis protesters outside Pretoria High Court
What we should however be a upset about is when there are folks possibly being funded, unwillingly, by you and me to protest against legalisation outside the court. The government Department of Social Development is allegedly sponsoring free shirts, trips and lunches to any souls who are willing to hold up an anti-cannabis banner and sing that Jesus is the only thing anybody should get high on. They are apparently even pulling government employees away from their work to rather have them spend the day chanting and blocking traffic in the capital city. Whether these large public gatherings are even legal or signed off by the provincial authorties is another debate that’s likely to grow over the coming weeks.
Another concern are the wings of anti-dagga disciples proudly flocking to schools and knocking on doors in their bright yellow ribbon t-shirts, while never missing an opportunity to take a selfie during their self-righteous questing. The public sharing of sensitive information such as pictures online of children and their contact details unfortunately seems to be a finer point of social etiquette that has also been lost on these folks who are way too absorbed in the pipe dream of a drug free world to be aware of anything other than that sole achievement, despite their claims that everything they do is in the best interest of the youth.
Cannabis, what about the children?
All of this this does make me wonder though… What Would Jesus Do about Cannabis in South Africa? I could sit here all day and write snarky quips about him probably turning my stank to dank, but seriously. Caging people and calling the cops on your neighbor for responsibly consuming a plant just doesn’t seem like something he would do. When I asked the courthouse protest and school petition organiser in chief, Dereleen James, whether she believed her self confessed drug addict son should be treated like a criminal she replied that he should not, and stated that this consideration should however only be applied to her child and not to anyone else.
This is what lies at the very heart of what I am struggling with. Having such mad respect for the work and hustle of these well intentioned folk, but just not feeling the vibes of how they shout there message at us. Equally we see some pro-cannabis folk using Cannabis legalisation as a platform for their egos to also take flight from, which makes the Trial Of The Plant all that more needed. It is an opportunity for strong debate and evidence to be presented to the court about Cannabis’ role in society and how we treat those who interact with this plant. That the protesters have allegedly been instructed by the organizers not to speak to the media and that Doctors For Life have definitely been shutting down public debate on their end speaks volumes about why we should be wary or listening to those who refuse to allow others to be heard.
Just as it would be unwise to accept the words from a passionate few on either side of the fence as the gospel, it would be unwise for me to assume that the religious drive of the likes of Doctors For Life, Advocate Willis or Dereleen James are a true reflection of the majority of considerate Christian South Africans. So I will leave you with this question.
Do all Christians hate Cannabis?