March 8, 2012

"I believe in working with the hearts of people, and not locking them up."

Says Pat Robertson, advocating the legalization of marijuana.
"I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol... I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded."...

Mr. Robertson said he enjoyed a glass of wine now and then — “When I was in college, I hit it pretty hard, but that was before Christ.” He added that he did not think marijuana appeared in the Bible, though he noted that “Jesus made water into wine.”

“I don’t think he was a teetotaler,” he said.
Now, of course, Pat Roberson has said a lot of hare-brained things over the years, — but that doesn't mean he's always wrong. I was going to look up and post about his worst opinions, but I got sidetracked into this question whether marijuana appears in the Bible. You just know there will be pages on the internet talking about marijuana in the Bible. For example:
God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth.…To you it will be for meat." … And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:29-31) The Bible predicts some herb's prohibition. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall … speak lies in hypocrisy … commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (Paul: 1 Timothy 4:1-3)

The Bible speaks of a special plant. "I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more." (Ezekiel 34:29) A healing plant. On either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare 12 manner of fruits, and yielding her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelations 22:1-2) A gift from God.

58 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...

Why must we keep referring to the Bible in the 21st century?

They didn't even know what a germ was,...

bagoh20 said...

Is there anything that's not in the bible? That sure was some all encompassing writing.

Now, can someone lead me to the review of the new Ipad. It's got to be in there somewhere.

traditionalguy said...

Pat has a long career of doing and speaking what he thinks is God's will for him. That belief gives a man boldness to speak without fear, and many times he has been right.

What Pat is not is an ignorant fundamentalist . He is an educated man with many high level contacts built up over a lifetime of doing good works as he sees his role in them.

X said...

Jesus would have been a bootlegger if had been born 1900 years later and in America.

Mary Beth said...

I'm pretty sure that marijuana isn't what is being described by, "they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land."

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm pretty sure that marijuana isn't what is being described by, "they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land.""

Jesus said: "Seek and ye shall find."

So if you are looking for marijuana in the Bible...

Dustin said...

"Why must we keep referring to the Bible in the 21st century?

They didn't even know what a germ was,..."

The Bible is not a good reference on germs, I agree. If you think that's an intelligent criticism, you have some growing up to do.

It's a great work that everyone should read at least once, even if they aren't believers. It's historically interesting and discusses many moral issues... some are discussed brilliantly... some not so much.

I'm not going to throw away The Republic or Huckleberry Finn because they didn't know what a quark was, either.

EDH said...

I'm waiting for Pat Robertson to start riffing on "the devastating blow to our antiquated systems".

junyo said...

Pat Robertson, obviously a granola crunching hippy involved aiding and abetting neo-racist fever dreams of liberals, per yesterday's thread. The drug war hasn't failed, we just haven't locked up enough people.

Curious George said...

I don't know if Jesus was a stoner. But he sure looked like a stoner.

edutcher said...

Lefties and Libertarians finding this a marvelous insight by a thoughtful observer of the scene in 3, 2, 1...

Robertson did the sofa thing with Al (Crown Heights, Freddy's Fashion Mart) Sharpton, IIRC. The neurons starting to go.

traditionalguy said...

What Pat is not is an ignorant fundamentalist .

Cheap shot, tg.

Willing to bet most fundamentalists are a little better educated than a lot of Lefties and better informed.

Triangle Man said...

The Bible is not a good reference on germs, I agree. If you think that's an intelligent criticism, you have some growing up to do.

Look at Dustin going all ad hom on Crack MC.

Raise your game Dustin.

Henry said...

According to the cannabis people, the word "calamus", a marsh plant, is a mistranslation of a word that more likely means "cannabis":

Isaiah 43:24
You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses.

Triangle Man said...

Willing to bet most fundamentalists are a little better educated than a lot of Lefties and better informed.

That is a statistical statement with a testable hypothesis, though it does assume a (perhaps reasonable) complete disunion of religious fundamentalism and political leftism.

Let's see some data edutcher.

sonicfrog said...

Mr. Robertson said he enjoyed a glass of wine now and then — “When I was in college, I hit it pretty hard, but that was before Christ.”

Dang... I knew Pat Robertson was old... But I didn't think he was THAT old!!!! :-)

Wilson said...

I dispute that the Bible is interesting at all. Believers says it's interesting because they're trying to convince you to read it. And maybe they've convinced themselves that it's interesting because hey, my god or goddess wouldn't write (or inspire) a dull book, now would s/he?

But try reading the religious texts of other religions. The Bhagavad Gita, Popol Vuh, Quran, Book of Mormon, etc. -- they're universally dull, except to those who believe in them.

So which is more likely to be true -- that your holy book is the only interesting one in the whole wide world, or that you just *think* it's interesting because you happen to believe it?

The Bible is mind-numbingly dull. It should be knocked off its pedestal.

traditionalguy said...

If marijuana had not been made illegal, then its users would be regulated by social mores about diligent work habits.

The fear of lazy bums who do no work was the evil law makers said they were making illegal, but they started up a war with hard working importers and distributors.

It makes as much sense to imprison everyone caught working on Sunday. Must working should made criminal to protect those who want to do nothing but rest and socialize on Sundays?

But doing nothing but resting and socializing was what we said was so bad about marijuana use.

IMO the immense un-taxed profits from beer and liquor during prohibition was to good a thing to be lost to politicians and their machines when prohibition was repealed. So they made a prohibition marijuana to replace it.

John said...

Wilson,

Sorry but if you think the Bagavad Gita is dull, you are just an ignorant philistine. Sorry but there is no other way to describe it.

As far as the bible goes, parts of the Old Testament are certainly dull. But books like Genesis and Exodus and Job are fascinating.

As far as the New Testament, it is the most interesting and strange religious document ever written. It contains all sorts of weird details that can be found in no other sacred book.

You don't have to be a believer to appreciate religious writing and thinking. Anyone who cannot, is either unintelligent or close minded. In either case, it makes you boring.

Paddy O said...

Someone should put together a reality show in which Jesse Jackson and Pat Robertson live together in a small apartment. The hijinks and regular quips would be highly entertaining!

Not likely the Bible has anything to say about cannabis, but that doesn't stop people on other issues too. Jesus pretty much did whatever it is we want to do. That's popular exegesis at least.

Christian teaching from the earliest days said to avoid drunkenness, so that probably could include avoiding getting high. Christian teaching didn't prohibit alcohol, just having too much of it. The issue was the sorts of sins that are much more likely when drunk, not the drunkenness for its own sake.

Why must we keep referring to the Bible in the 21st century?

"They didn't even know what a germ was,..."

What a modern thing to say! The 20th century went pretty far to illustrate that scientific advancement and moral advancement aren't really tied together. The Bible doesn't talk about viruses, but it suggests that having sex outside of very specific relationships is a bad idea--and that's still the best way to avoid STDs. In our modern era, we want to do whatever we want and have science fix us. The Bible suggests forms of preventative care for emotional and physical issues (though not usually in those terms).

It's also why we still refer to the philosophers and other thinkers of those days. They may not have known as much about the structure of the cell, but they had a pretty good, sometimes better, understanding of human behavior.

edutcher said...

Triangle Man said...

Willing to bet most fundamentalists are a little better educated than a lot of Lefties and better informed.

That is a statistical statement with a testable hypothesis, though it does assume a (perhaps reasonable) complete disunion of religious fundamentalism and political leftism.

Let's see some data edutcher.


tg's statement assumes they are ignorant, yet they read well enough to be well-versed in Scripture.

We all know that the most likely people to home school are fundamentalists and home schooled people do far better in school subjects than the kids subjected to the union slugs.

phx said...

The Bible is mind-numbingly dull.

People. They often don't have the least clue as to how limited they personally are. And then they think they have something worth telling to others.

phx said...

You don't have to be a believer to appreciate religious writing and thinking. Anyone who cannot, is either unintelligent or close minded.

I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with the above. I'm not sure anything is.

Ivy said...

"it was very good" for something, not necessarily for you to swallow.
Hemlock? Nightshade? Even apple seeds can make you sick if you ate enough of them.

Raising my eyebrows at the last several paragraphs of this post. Not your usual skilled reasoning.

phx said...

Christian teaching from the earliest days said to avoid drunkenness, so that probably could include avoiding getting high. Christian teaching didn't prohibit alcohol, just having too much of it. The issue was the sorts of sins that are much more likely when drunk, not the drunkenness for its own sake.

If we're talking about marijuana, the last sentence here pretty much contradicts the first sentence.

Wilson said...

John, phx: Ad hominem is all you've got? Thank for proving my point.

traditionalguy said...

Pat Robertson believes in being lead by the Holy Spirit. He believes that the author of the Bible helps him understand it.

JohnGalt said...

"... and they shall be no more consumed with hunger ..."

Can't refer to marijuana. I feel the munchies coming on.

edutcher said...

Wilson said...

The Bible is mind-numbingly dull. It should be knocked off its pedestal.

No, along with Shakespeare, it's probably one of the best books on human psychology ever written.

And a Hell of a good adventure story in most places.

phx said...

I dispute that the Bible is interesting at all.

Wilson I'm not making an argument here. I'm saying when you traffic something so woefully ignorant as the above, you need to be learning, not teaching. It's not an argument. It's practically an axiom.

phx said...

Everyone gets the Homer they deserve.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jimbino said...

Where does one get the idea that "bare" is the past tense of "bear"?

The original King James translators used strange conjugations!

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Unknown Pundit said...

There is a very strong arguement in support of the notion that the ancient Hebrews were consumers of cannibis.

One of the ingredients used in preparing the holy annoiting oil was kaneh bos. Greek translators 2300 years ago translated that word as cane or sweet cane. Modern translators think that the Greeks got it wrong and that kaneh bos is the Hebrew word for cannibis.

If true, it means that the ancient Hebrews thought getting high was the equivalent of being filled with the spirit of God, as the cannibis infused oil burned in the lamps of the tabernacle would have given the ancient worshippers quite a buzz.

Carol said...

Robertson is getting so old, he probably doesn't care anymore. He figures he looks good if he buys into the "disparate legal impact on blacks" argument, so he's cool with it now.

What I dont' get is, how are the poor drug sellers going to make money if pot goes all legal and commercial? They will be wiped by Phillip Morris.

Of course, there are other drugs to sell. What about hash, or opium - should they be legalized too? Why not painkillers OTC? Why does the discussion always end at pot?

Surely there will be some way a guy can make money.

Stephen said...

Moses was a shepherd peacefully tending to his flock when he saw the burning bush (Exodus 3). The leaves did not burn up(!), he heard the angel of the Lord speaking (!!), and he heard instructions to go to Egypt to get Pharaoh to release the Israelite slaves (!!!). Unfortunately, there's no mention about whether Moses later had a hankering for salty snacks.

The Wisconsin connection: the BB incident occurred at Mount Horeb. Per the Urban Dictionary Mount Horeb, WI is

"A quaint town about 20 miles west of Madison, Wisconsin. Filled with roundabouts, a small collection of fast food joints and rival pizza restaurants, Mount Horeb is infamous for the amount of weed and stoners within the city limits."

Coincidence? I think not!

Paddy O said...

"If we're talking about marijuana, the last sentence here pretty much contradicts the first sentence."

I don't think so (but maybe). It would mean that like with drunkenness, the sin would not be the getting high in its own right but the higher potential for sinning when high... which comes from a lower self-control.

Unknown pundit, that's pretty much what Ann said. And like with re-interpretations of homosexuality, it has more more to do with modern interpreters's goals than the actual text.

The Unknown Pundit said...

Paddy O said:

...it has more more to do with modern interpreters's goals than the actual text.

And you know this how exactly? Do you have any evidence that the modern interpreters had an agenda other than historical accuracy? I'd love to hear it. After all, the first finding on this matter occurred in the 1930's in Poland, far away from the USA's fledgling drug war.

TMink said...

There are marijuana receptors in the brain and the gall bladder or stomach. There is no cocaine receptor as such in the brain, cocaine just fits in some of the neurotransmitter slots.

Not so with marijuana. A creationist is backed into a corner and had to say that God made us to respond to marijuana.

Trey

X said...

I'm ignorant about weed except I know it's illegal and someone said it's bad so I am on board with the Romans crucifying marijuana users

TMink said...

Scripture certainly does call drunkeness a sin. But it also states "Thank you for the wine that makes me happy."

And Christ's first miracle was to turn the water into wine, good wine at that.

Intoxicants are not the problem, drunkeness is.

Trey

john harvard said...

Isaiah 52:13 - "See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high."

Does it for me.

JH

karrde said...

@bago20:

"Of the making of books [tablets] there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the body"

Ecclesiastes 12.12

This might apply, after a fashion, to any new technology.

However, it might be a stretch, as the same book of Scripture asserts that "There is nothing new under the sun."

However, that might be an assertion about human nature and the meaning of life, not technology...

@X,
Jesus would likely provide alcohol if he was a guest at a celebration and they ran out of good drink. And he wouldn't bootleg it, he would make it on the spot.

Paddy O said...

"And you know this how exactly? Do you have any evidence that the modern interpreters had an agenda other than historical accuracy?"

Twelve years of higher education in this field gives me some expertise and understanding of the history of interpretation on the Bible in general.

Many modern interpreters have an agenda of historical accuracy. Many others have many other agendas. It's just how academia is. However, popular interpretation can just say whatever it wants with a veneer of academiality to it to make it sound all official and whatnot.

Eric said...

It would mean that like with drunkenness, the sin would not be the getting high in its own right but the higher potential for sinning when high... which comes from a lower self-control.

Drunk people get into all kinds of mischief, but pot users? Not so much. If you wanted to design a drug to keep people out of trouble you couldn't do much better than one that makes people want to sit on the couch and giggle at things that aren't objectively funny.

So if the biblical wariness of alcohol is rooted in the effects of abuse, then it's hard to imagine a theological objection to a little toke now and then.

phx said...

PaddyO have you read "Shadow of a Great Rock"? I'd be curious to know if you give it a thumbs up or down.

phx said...

That inquiry actually goes for anybody.

rcocean said...

I'm glad all the Mary Jane advocates have Pat "The flooding of New Orleans is a sign that God is tired of seeing his creation mocked by the Mardi Gras and its perverted display of debauchery and exposed breasts." Robertson.

Its good to have all the flakes, druggies, and dummies on the same side.

John Lynch said...

The problem with drug use is that low-wage jobs do not pay enough to support a drug habit. So where does an addict get the money? By stealing.

This isn't a problem with drugs being illegal, it's a problem with drugs. Legal drugs don't become much less expensive because states and localities immediately tax them.

X said...

who's on the other side rc? drunks, teatotalers, and people who think mj is horrible because the government told them so?

X said...

john lynch, precrimes seem like a bad idea, but alcohol is far worse in that regard. and mj, the subject, actually grows on trees.

Sofa King said...

The problem with drug use is that low-wage jobs do not pay enough to support a drug habit...

...in a black market. I'd bet that even given the exorbitant excise taxes, cigarettes that had to be smuggled into the country and sold under threat of lengthy incarceration and forfeiture would be too expensive for low-wage earners to buy as well.

Fr Martin Fox said...

A lot of folks treat the Bible as if it were "the book that talks about absolutely everything." It does not.

First, that may be a consequence of a Protestant, "sola scriptura" -- i.e., if the Bible alone is where we get our doctrine, then we expect more of it.

So for Orthodox and Catholics who don't take that approach, we aren't so likely to expect the Bible to answer every question.

Second, some of it is treating the Bible as a magic book--a lot of believers do that--or else it's based on the stereotype of what non-believers think believers think the Bible is. Akin to the gasps of shock from skeptics about the sinful things that appear in the Bible.

In fact, the Bible sets out to talk about certain subjects, and when it does so, it does so with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It's not about herbology (or genetics, or geology...).

Methadras said...

I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land.

Yeah, that can't be weed because it gives you the munchies.

The Unknown Pundit said...

Paddy O said -

Twelve years of higher education in this field gives me some expertise and understanding of the history of interpretation on the Bible in general.

Many modern interpreters have an agenda of historical accuracy. Many others have many other agendas. It's just how academia is. However, popular interpretation can just say whatever it wants with a veneer of academiality to it to make it sound all official and whatnot.


IOW, you don't have any evidence that there was an agenda besides historical accuracy concerning the new translation of the word kaneh bos. A simple "No, I have no evidence." would have sufficed.

Take care.

John Lynch said...

Sofa King, et. al.-

We have a legal market for 'mj.' There are pot dispensaries all over town. They don't charge much less than illegal dealers. Why would they?

I work in a restaurant and I see drug addicts all the time. There are worse drugs than cannabis, but it's still a drug.

Drugs cause crime because drugs cost money. That won't change if they are legal, just as it hasn't changed alcohol.

People still come to work drunk, or they get DUIs, or they steal to pay their bar tab. Seen it all.

Drug use is acceptable for too many people. The law doesn't much enter into it.

I'm perfectly receptive to the idea that drug laws have failed and have criminalized too many people or targeted some people more than others. What I don't like is the corollary that drug use is simply another behavior that we have no right to regulate. Well, yes, we do.

The legal regime has certainly failed. Before the 1960s drugs weren't much of an issue despite the lack of drug laws. Like many other things we've substituted government for custom.

If you work with an addict, or live with one, or even just live near too many of them, you see the problem. Legalization won't fix that.

Beth said...

The NOPD just shot and killed a 20 year old man, an unarmed man, in front of his home while serving a search warrant. They found 138 grams - about 1/4 - of pot. I don't see what we gain from this.

Michael McNeil said...

John Lynch: In California, I know for a fact, from personal connections, that if you have a medical marijuana card and are poor enough, one can apply to some of the marijuana dispensaries and they will grant you a stipend for (at at least one such dispensary) 1/8th ounce of high grade bud per week (worth about $40), paid for by the dispensary's other customers.