FIRST-PERSON: Marijuana's momentum
OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) -- The 2018 midterm elections saw many winners and losers. Yet the much-discussed Nov. 6 vote had one big winner that some people are not talking about.
That "winner" is marijuana, which is actually a loser for families and society. On Nov. 6, voters approved recreational marijuana use in Michigan, as well as so-called medical marijuana in Missouri and Utah.
Indeed, 2018 as a whole has been a banner year for the advancement and normalization of marijuana. A recent article in the Washington Post observed, "It has been a big year for marijuana policy in North America. Mexico's supreme court overturned pot prohibition ... while Canada's recreational marijuana market officially opened its doors in October."
The article went on to note that "Oklahoma voters approved one of the country's most progressive medical marijuana bills" in a June election.
In the face of marijuana's rapid advance, what can Christians do? There are at least three things:
Don't panic, pray
It would be a mistake to overact to the marijuana moment. We need to pray that God would turn the hearts of people away from the lure of drunkenness and toward obeying the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
The culture in America is increasingly in favor of marijuana use. Christians need to re-double our efforts on warning people -- especially young people -- about the spiritual and physical ramifications of these mind-altering, addictive drugs. We need to go back to the basics about why drunkenness is not only wrong and displeasing to God, but that it leads to a wasted life (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Ultimately, marijuana's momentum is a sign of the times. The surge of marijuana legalization suggests a moral laxness, showing that people now want license over laws. Yet no policy victories -- bad or good -- are permanent. If marijuana is truly dangerous as we warn, then we must continue to persevere and also persuade people against it (Proverbs 25:15).
Moreover, the trends mean Christians will need to stand ready with ministries to help those who are addicted and help families who are shattered by the ugly effects and empty promises of drugs.
It also means that, until the societal pendulum swings back away from marijuana, Christians must contend for our convictions in the marketplace of ideas, with confidence and standing on the Word of God.