Jerry Newcombe

Americans are accepting pot in seemingly unprecedented ways. Even as it is becoming legal in more places, such as Colorado by an act of the voters a couple years ago, there are still consequences to face with the widespread use of marijuana. We still reap what we sow.

Just the other day, a headline from the Associated Press (7/26/14) read, "Pot seen as reason for rise in Denver homeless." The article states, "The Salvation Army's single men's shelter in Denver has been serving more homeless this summer, and officials have noted an increase in the number of 18- to 25-year-olds there." Just in the prime of their life, and they already need help.

I find this ironic because last month, comedian Bill Maher said on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on Comedy Central that he is glad more young people today are getting into drugs versus religion.

Maher said if he were running for office, “… my slogan would be Drugs are Good and Religion is Bad. (applause) …. I think people are coming over to my way of thinking: drugs are good and religion is bad. I’m gonna stick with that!”

Personally, I think the opposite is true. Drugs are bad. Religion (as defined as a personal relationship with Jesus) is good. That's especially true for society, where we have to live with the consequences of other people's choices.

Of course, religion is an elastic term. When Maher uses it, he mashes together everyone from the evangelicals to Osama Bin Laden---thus, painting all religions with the same brush. The effects of biblical Christianity have been very positive, but that’s not true of drugs.

How many people use illegal drugs? The National Survey on Drug Use and Health gathers "information on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States aged 12 years old or older."

They report that in 2012, "an estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This estimate represents 9.2 percent of the population aged 12 or older."

They say that pot is "the most commonly used illicit drug," involving some 18.9 million users on a regular basis. The survey also noted the recent jump in those who use some harder drugs: "The number of past year heroin users increased between 2007 (373,000) and 2012 (669,000)."

Drugs versus Religion. Interesting either/or. I think Maher is right on this point---it’s either/or.

Jerry Newcombe

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy Legacy Library and a Christian TV producer.