Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Getting Sex and Drugs Backward
What’s worse for a Christian to do: have sex outside of marriage, or snort cocaine?
I know. Snorting cocaine. Know how I know? Which carries the stiffer penalty in our culture?
We do jail people who snort cocaine and smoke pot, at least if we can get our hands on them before they or their parents become politicians, but do we jail people who have sex outside of marriage? More importantly, should we jail them?
If we jail druggies but not “sexies,” aren’t we straining out gnats and swallowing camels?
The Bible says that because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we should keep them pure (1 Cor 6:19), specifically free from sexual immorality. I’ve heard Christians apply that verse to alcohol and (other) drugs, saying that intoxicants of any form defile the temple of the Holy Spirit. I’ve even heard it used to justify jailing unbelievers, people whose bodies are most definitely not at present any kind of temple of the Holy Spirit, for trafficking in (i.e., producing, possessing, or using) intoxicants.
But I’m not so sure that extension is permissible. The preceding verse reads, “Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18), implying that sinning against one’s own body is somehow worse than sinning “outside the body.” Sexual immorality is in a class by itself. The Bible condemns intoxication from Genesis to Revelation, but intoxication is still a sin “outside the body,” according to at least a strict reading of 1 Cor 6:18.
Murder and theft are also sins “outside the body,” and the Bible certainly prescribes that murderers and thieves be dealt with, howbeit not by incarceration, so being an outside-the-body sin does not per se keep trafficking in intoxicants from being a crime.
So what does the Bible, which prescribes what to do with idolators, murderers, thieves, rapists, adulterers, women who are menstruating, and men who have seminal emissions—we’re not talking about a document that skirts issues great or small—tell us to do with people who grow, produce, sell, buy, possess, or consume intoxicants?
You don’t see anything, do you?
But I do! Look at Isa 55:1: “Buy wine.” Look at Deut 14:26: “Spend the money for … wine or strong drink.” Yes, my friend, you read it here first: what the Bible tells us to do with those who traffic in intoxicants is to patronize them!
Are we to become intoxicated? No. Does consuming intoxicants by definition lead to intoxication? Apparently not.
But what about “gateway drugs”? Aren’t they dangerous?
There has never been a more popular gateway drug than alcohol. Today in the United States “three-fourths of all adults drink alcohol, and 6% of them are alcoholics”; that means that 8 percent of those who drink regularly are addicted. “About 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana.” If marijuana is so addictive it needs to be interdicted, I wonder where the line is between it and alcohol. Where does Scripture put it?
You don’t see it either, do you?
I also wonder how many of those addicted to marijuana are also addicted to alcohol. In other words, could the problem be the person and not the substance? Could some people just be inclined to overuse whatever allows them to escape the emptiness in their lives? Can anyone say “video games”?
Which brings us back to sex.
I’ve never smoked pot, but I know of at least one US president and I know personally three bigwigs at my church who say they smoked pot when they were younger. Look at where they are today! It would seem that one can smoke a few joints, put it behind you, and get on with life.
What about extramarital sex? Can you just put it behind you? Or is it more likely to poison the relationship between you and your cohort, between you both and your eventual spouses, and between you and other members of the opposite sex with whom you could otherwise enjoy enjoyable innocent relationships?
I’m not excited about my kids smoking pot. I’d rather not hear about them consuming alcohol unless we’re enjoying a glass at the time. But I’d much rather hear them say they got stoned and learned their lesson and will never do it again than to hear that they had a sexual affair that they now regret.
And I sure as hell have no desire to see them in jail for what amounts to being stupid. The War on Drugs is an unbiblical, unconstitutional war on freedom. It’s time for Christians to end their support for it.