THE SMOKER YOU DRINK THE PLAYER YOU GET

I know it has been only a year since I last thrashed Pat Robertson after he counselled a viewer to divorce his Alzheimer afflicted wife and marry his girlfriend, but I feel he deserves another drubbing. http://blog.churchoftherock.ca/till-divorce-do-we-part Actually, for the record, it is one of his opinions that is my concern not his character. But I am sure I will have lots of readers that will defend the poor 81 year old multi-millionaire broadcasting mogul anyway. Last fall Pat Robertson came out on the 700 Club as favouring legalizing marijuana. In his defense he was sincere in his motive. He was concerned about the tragedy of young people ending up in jail for the possession of a few ounces of marijuana. He wondered out loud (his best gift) if it would not be better to legalize the use of pot and therefore save millions of dollars in the cost of incarceration of these kids and avoid turning them into hardened criminals. He is right about the American penal system not working and the fact that it is not rehabilitating anyone. That has been well documented. But for a preacher to suggest that decriminalizing marijuana is the way to solve the problem is bizarre to say the least. By that logic we could empty all the prisons if we just decriminalized prostitution and thievery and murder and…

This spring the state of Colorado has agreed to put a proposition on the November election ballot that would decriminalize the private use of marijuana. Shortly after the announcement, who was among the first to endorse the proposal? You guessed it, Pat Robertson. He told the New York Times, “It’s completely out of control, prisons are being overcrowded with juvenile offenders having to do with drugs. And the penalties, the maximums, some of them could get 10 years for possession of a joint of marijuana. …It makes no sense at all. 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.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/us/pat-robertson-backs-legalizing-marijuana.html The uber right wing Robertson, who once ran for the Presidential nomination of the Republican party, has now become the hero of the pot smoking, tree hugging, granola eating left. It is so ironic that you have to at least see the humour in it.

First off, the good preacher has his facts wrong on the penalty for possession. The maximum sentence for a first time offender is one year, and even a three time loser could get up to 3 years. But one rarely gets that. Actual sentences are usually a fine and/or up to 30 days in jail. What is of real interest to me is Robertson’s solution – to treat marijuana the same way we treat beverage alcohol. Yes, that model has been a real winner. It is impossible to calculate the extraordinary ‘human cost’ of alcohol every year; namely the number of jobs that are lost, productivity that is wasted, marriages that have failed, children that are abused, students that are raped, drivers that are killed… goodness the list goes on and on. I know we can not turn back the clock and go back to the days of prohibition. Alcohol has become as much a part of our culture as food. I just don’t think we are being honest about what a devastating effect it has on our society. Why on earth would we want to create another monster that we cannot tame?

Here are the US governments very own statistics on the matter; 70% of American adults are drinkers, 57% drink regularly and 31% are binge drinkers (that one should be frightening). By contrast only 10% smoke pot and 6% smoke it regularly. You do not need to be a social scientist to know what will happen if you legalize the use of weed. It will skyrocket. Law abiding citizens that would never touch the stuff or even know where to get it for that matter, would now think, “Why not give it a try? It’s not like I’m breaking any laws.”

The Dutch experiment has proven exactly that. Following Holland’s decriminalization of the possession of cannabis, use went up 300%. (15% to 45%) The long term societal effect is not hard to determine now that we have years of relaxed marijuana laws in places like Amsterdam. The city boasts 730 coffee shops, where customers can buy herbal cannabis or hashish without fear of arrest. Millions of tourists flock to the city every year to enjoy a legal high. The Dutch government loves it too as they collect more than 300 million euros in tax annually from the ‘coffee shops’ alone.

If it sounds eerily like a druggie’s Las Vegas, then you are reading this right. And like Vegas the profits to be made from marijuana have attracted organized crime. Holland is no longer known for growing tulips, cannabis is the cash crop of choice. Dutch police believe that the underground cannabis growing cottage industry has now become one of their nation’s biggest earners of foreign currency, worth an estimated 2.7 billion euros in total – about half as much as Holland’s legitimate horticultural business. Organized crime has moved in with strong armed violence to take control of the industry. Max Daniel, Holland’s police commissioner responsible for cannabis, calls it a danger to Dutch society. “There is now so much money to be made that cannabis is sucking in organised crime gangs from abroad and corrupting legitimate businesspeople – especially lawyers, estate agents and bankers. Money laundering is a massive enterprise, and it is bringing together white-collar professionals and the kind of criminals who deal with heroin, prostitutes and people-smuggling.” Daniel laments, “Cannabis is a threat to our democracy.” Some law enforcement officials are recommending closing down the ‘coffee shops’. Their cries are falling on deaf ears as the public has come to enjoy their little vice and government has come to be dependent on their big tax and tourism revenues. Police are now spending one third of their time dealing with drug related crime. Sorry Pat, but it hardly sounds like a solution to overcrowded prisons.

You would need to be closer to my age to remember Joe Walsh’s great album The Smoker You Drink The Player You Get. The convoluted title’s message was clear, the more pot you smoke, the stupider you get. They do call it ‘dope’ for a reason. My question is why is a high profile preacher of the gospel suggesting that we solve a justice problem by opening the door even wider to a world of drugs, organized crime and sin? . He says he has never smoked marijuana. I believe him, so then what is Pat Robertson’s excuse?

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47 Responses to THE SMOKER YOU DRINK THE PLAYER YOU GET

  1. Myrna Harvey-Opper says:

    Thank you, Pastor Mark, for speaking out. We need more churches willing to do that. Better yet, to band together & speak out against this type of thing. I don’t agree with legalizing marijuana for anything. It’s enough that some people are getting permission to smoke it for medical conditions such as ‘chronic pain’.

  2. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Wow my brother is goingto have a field day with this.

    I do not agree that smoke is for everyone. Medicinal marijuana helps those who do not have anymore options.

    My view is Pat Robertson should smoke it to make a final opinion. It is hypocritical when you do not see both sides. does he have any ailments.

    I take medication that is why I do not use it.

    I do not pass judgment on those who want to break the law.

    If they are doing crimes under the influence. I agree, throw them in jail. The most stupid mistakes are made when high, drunk and so forth. Our governments are throwing in the towel. Improve our healthcare system.

    • jane_eyre says:

      Evelyn,
      In places where medical marijuana is used, it is not well regulated. It’s been proven not to work. I also don’t see how marijuana could be the only option for someone for pain control. Pain control is well established in Palliative Care settings, for example, and yes, the drugs would be potentially addictive,,but they are very well regulated. Pot is not, and because it is “natural” doesn’t make it ok for you. Belladonna is natural, too.

      If the most stupid mistakes are done under the influence, then why legalize what is causing people to be under the influence? that sends a message from the government that pot is a-ok. People smoke it to get a high. There’s no other reason, besides medical cases, which are a very slim percentile.

  3. Darrel says:

    About Pat Robertson, did not JESUS warn us about wolves in sheeps clothing in the end times

  4. Evelyn Bennett says:

    to respond to Darrel: not necessarily
    there is a history of pastors making bad decisions. God does not condemn those that realize their own wrongdoing.

    potsmokers are being real God praises those that do not hide behind their sin.

  5. Karen says:

    When I read this blog, I didn’t see the “pot” debate, but the fact that believers are not praying or supporting their Pastors in their biblical walk. This society has a multitude of Pastors that would prefer to become wishy-washy in their faith, accepting society’s garden path, rather than the path that God has laid out for them.

    Does Pat Robertson realize his own wrongdoing? I’m kind of thinking that he is an attention seeker opening his mouth every chance he gets, and tells people want they want to hear, no matter what it says in the bible. Somebody should hold that guy accountable for his words and his actions. It’s this kind of guy that makes all Christians look like hypocrites and the bible to them is a “suggested guideline” and not the book to follow to honor God.

    Pastors are human, just like us regular people, and they do make mistakes.
    1 Timothy 3 makes it clear how a Pastor/Leader in the church is supposed conduct himself.I think that Pat Robertson needs to be reminded about the expectations of God where his profession is concerned.

    I’m sure the calling of “Pastor” is not always an easy one. Thanks to all of those Pastors who honor the “calling” and preach the gospel the way that honors God. I will be praying…

    • jane_eyre says:

      I personally wonder if Pat Robertson is dealing with some dementia. Honestly, and not in a cruel way, I wonder if his years are catching up to him.
      Yes, we should pray for him, as we do for everyone..but he needs special prayers because he ‘s “out there’ in public and people listen to him.

  6. Sally says:

    Yes there definitely is a need for more prayer for our spiritual leaders, especially those who are “our elders”. If they are falling into deception, then much, much more prayer is needed. We the Body of Christ needed to be interceeding more!
    Two wrongs definitely does not make a right and legaliing marijauna is definitely not the right way to go.

  7. Steve says:

    Ezekial 16:49-50 Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom:pride-overabundance of food,prosperous ease and idleness were hers and her daughters’; neither did she strengthen the hande of the poor and needy.
    And they were haughty and committed abominable offenses before Me;therefore I removed them when I saw fit.

  8. Evelyn Bennett says:

    steve what gives on the scripture. Please provide your interpretation to the article presented with the scripture you chose.

  9. Steve says:

    Oh, I was just thinking about Pat Robertson and alot of other leaders I see out there and I notice that there are not very many blatantly obvious evils that they are portraying to the public.
    They look really good on the outside and their arguments seem to make alot of sense. But in the scripture I put up there, it shows how these seemingly little sins like pride, living in abundance and ease while not lifting up the weak or poor, and just plain haughtiness were the real culprits in Sodoms demise.
    I believe that these unnoticed sins are the beginings of the huge downfall for many preachers and their flock. I think it pays to make sure we are all looking at every area in our lives and letting God do His work in there.
    I know I’m not even close to being a perfect Christian, but I don’t want to allow any roots of the enemy to thrive in me, so I’m gonna let God kill them off even if it hurts alot. But there’s a building up He does at the same time, so when the process is done, you gain more of Jesus and you become more secure in Him. It’s all good!

  10. Hmmm says:

    Darrel, yes the bible does warn about wolves in sheeps clothing. It also says that “Even the very elect will be fooled”. The words are the Bible’s not mine…..

    Thank you Pastor Mark for your stand….I have often fought my own private battle as to whether or not pot should be legalized. I am not a user, however there is just so much crime surrounding pot and other drugs, somtimes I think it should just be legalized and the crime lords would have less input….however, I did not know the stats from Holland and Europe for that matter before reading your blog…

    • jane_eyre says:

      I don’t think legalizing drugs prevents crime. That’s like what the USA thinks about legalizing guns, that guns being legal doesn’t increase the violent crime rate. Well, yes, obviously we deal with violent crime (especially here in Winnipeg) but would putting guns in the hands of those that want them help this? Nope. We’ve seen it in the USA.

      It’s the same with drugs. No, people wouldn’t be arrested for smoking pot or selling it (under certain conditions), but there would still be crime as a result of people being stoned and making stupid decisions. Not to mention, people would still sell it illegally.

  11. Steve says:

    You have said,it is useless to serve God,and what profit is it if we keep His ordinances and walk gloomily before the Lord?
    And now we consider the proud and the arrogant to be happy and favoured;evildoers are exalted and prosper;yes, and when they test God,they escape unpunished.
    Then those who feared the Lord talked often to one another;and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name.
    And they shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels,And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.
    Then shall you return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who does not serve Him.
    Malachi 3:14-18

  12. Steve says:

    The point of those verses was we as Christians need to walk in purity and forgiveness and love. If there’s anything in us that hates others,we need to let God destroy that in us.
    I don`t know Pat`s heart, but when you see preachers coming up with ideas that are not from God, you got to think to yourself, why!
    I agree with Pastor Mark on that one.
    God`s ordinances are to live in love and to live in purity. If we are against either of these, then we really need to look at where the problem is in us.
    Im tryin to let God put alot more love into me. Love keeps no records of wrongs.

  13. Derek says:

    I don’t agree that weed should be advanced from the body of Christ prospective, especially because it affects your immediate conscience. If the church really wants to have big shoes about marijuana then also ban alcohol. Alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana. But if you people understand that the Governments across the world’s agenda on marijuana then you mite look at this plant from a different stand point.
    See the governments know that you get hemp from marijuana, You make clothes,Paper, Medicine, And Actually if make hemp oil properly it can heal different forms of cancer. actually THE USA’s constitution was written with hemp paper. the real reason that pharmaceutical corporations and Governments wont allow that stuff to be legalized is because you cant patent a plant. Imagine if
    less tress being cut down and marijuana Grown legally grown to safe trees.

    Am I the one that’s going to advocate for marijuana , NO, But my issue is with the church is that we can point out what a Body of Christ does instead of first focusing on Whats wrong in our lives AND CHURCHES,

    Examples, Preachers talking about self-help psychology messages and Barely preaching a full message About Holiness Or HELL because some of the members in the church mite leave because their agenda was not preached. Disco flashing lights and smoke machines on stage, Rock And Roll in Our Gospel Music, Miming, Hip hop dancing in Church using Alternatives To reach the Lost, But my Bible tells me its the Spirit that leads Them, We have put our selves in Front of the Holy Spirit. We use alternatives, Listen People, God is NOT an Alternative. I know I will Offend somebody about this is the truth.

  14. Bradley Pierce says:

    Marijuana prohibition is the true cause of the social and personal damage that has historically been attributed to marijuana use. It is prohibition that makes marijuana so valuable, while giving criminals a monopoly over supply. History has shown that prohibition does not reduce use. Forty years of ‘the War on Drugs’ has made drugs cheaper, more potent, and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade. It is time to end the ‘War on Drugs’ now, not because it’s a war on substances, but because it’s a war on people!

  15. Jess says:

    Bradley,

    You could use the same argument for all of the illegal drugs out there. Heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, ecstasy…the list goes on. They’re just as popular as marijuana, and if marijuana should be legalized, why leave out the rest of them? After all, it’s a “war on people”, isn’t it?

    • Derek says:

      Bradely your comment is ignorance, because marijuana is not in the same league in terms of negative versus positive. All other drugs including the drugs you get from the Dr can kill you, But there is not one person that has died from a overdose smoking marijuana. As a Christian,Yes we should not be using it to alter our state of mind, But this plant has other uses, besides smoking it.

      • Bradley Pierce says:

        Jess, and Derek. That is exactly what I’m advocating. Decriminalization of ALL drugs. Portugal decriminalized all possession of drugs in 2001 including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Jail time in Portugal is replaced with an offer of therapy. The argument was that the fear of jail time drives addicts underground and incarceration is more expensive than treatment, so why not give addicts health services instead? Did it work? By every measure it has been a success. Rates of drug use by teens is down, HIV infections by needle sharing is down, and the number of addicts seeking treatment is more than doubled. Prohibition of alcohol was a complete failure with our American cousins, and prohibition of street drugs is a complete failure also. Remember too that there is a difference between decriminalization and legalization. I am advocating decriminalization.

        • Mark Hughes says:

          You missed one rather important stat about Potugal. Reported lifetime use of “all illicit drugs” increased from 7.8% to 12%, lifetime use of cannabis increased from 7.6% to 11.7%, cocaine use more than doubled, from 0.9% to 1.9%, ecstasy nearly doubled from 0.7% to 1.3%, and heroin increased from 0.7% to 1.1%

          • Steven says:

            Well Mr. Hughes you either forgot to include, or just decided not to include (so that the statistic would favour your bias). The studiers came to the conclusion that the reason for the increase in reported drug use was because people were answering more truthfully! Yes, that’s right, people felt like the issue was more comfortable to talk about and less taboo. the Portuguese government and more importantly health services are now getting a more accurate idea of drug use because people are willing to talk about it!

            Also, just like your essay, it seems the most research you do on the topic is reading its summary on Wikipedia. Here is the link to the study that you quoted.

            http://bit.ly/Mdi8Cm

            If you cared to actually read the study, you would have realized that the study backs up Bradley’s argument of decriminalization, not yours against it.

            Your essay is full of conjecture with no real points or sold foundational arguments. Its faulty thinking, with faulty logic. I would also like to point out that even though Pat Robertson is right wing, it isn’t crazy that he is for decriminalization of Marijuana. Political ideologies such as libertarianism strongly believe in the decriminalization of drugs. The right wing believes in small government not getting involved in peoples lives, that means not restricting what they can put in there own bodies. This is pretty basic political science.

            I’m disappointed that someone such as yourself (a person of power and influence) could be so uninformed and unresearched. Though I’m not surprised by this. Please be more responsible Mr. Hughes, and for the love of God you need to learn how to right a bibliography. Stop stating statistics like there fact without a source. You need to back up your statement! Proof lies in the one asserting a point!

            • Mark Hughes says:

              Nice attempt to discredit me Steven, I didn’t use Wikipedia at all in my research. It was Bradley that was pasting Wikipedia and it was HE who conspicuously omitted the quote I pasted.

              Secondly, I am writing a blog… not a high school term paper that might require a bibliography.

              I am always amused that drug users tend to have delusions of brilliance. In the early days of recreational drug use the proponents believed that it would actually expand their ability to think. Ken Kesey said
              “I believe that with the advent of acid, we discovered a new way to think, and it has to do with piecing together new thoughts in your mind. Why is it that people think it’s so evil? What is it about it that scares people so deeply, even the guy that invented it, what is it? Because they’re afraid that there’s more to reality than they have confronted. That there are doors that they’re afraid to go in, and they don’t want us to go in there either, because if we go in we might learn something that they don’t know. And that makes us a little out of their control.”
              —Quoted in the BBC documentary, “The Beyond Within: The Rise and Fall of LSD,” 1987
              #04 – TOM WOLFE [1931- ]
              25 years later the jury is in… the end result is addle-headed drug addicts.

          • Jordan Baribeau says:

            @Steven I would like to make one note, moreso a ‘pet peeve’. You state:

            “Political ideologies such as libertarianism strongly believe in the decriminalization of drugs. The right wing believes in small government not getting involved in peoples lives, that means not restricting what they can put in there own bodies. This is pretty basic political science.”

            While you’re correct in stating ‘Libertarianism’ (specifically, the North American form which is completely displaced among the historical use of the term originating in Europe) argues that most, if not all drugs, ought to be legalized or simply detached from the arms of the state, the latter half of your paragraph is missing far too much for me not to comment. It is often touted, moreso in the public sphere, that the ‘right wing’ in the North Atlantic world (among other liberal democratic states) is for small government, this is largely a misguided academic analysis. The right wing, detached from any Burkean or ‘Oakeshottean’ sense of conservatism died long ago, arguably during the latter half of the French Revolution. Contemporary right wing ideologies often look to Francis Fukuyama, Robert Nozick, Ayan Rand and end up placing Edmund Burke, Michael Oakeshott and others out of context. We are largely left with a right wing that is dominated by ‘Neoconservatism’ or ‘Neoliberalism’ (yes, the economic framework of the later 1970′s). Both ideologies have largely failed from a number of standpoints, particularly in the academic realm. But more importantly, these ideologies have not produced a reduction in the size of the state. In fact, the North Atlantic world, plus Japan, Australia, NZ and SA have expanded the welfare state (even under ‘so-called’ Neoconservative and Neoliberal governments). There is ample evidence to suggest that the welfare state will continue to expand in some capacity or another among these states (this includes a rebuilding of the EU and Japanese fiscal situation if need be), not to mention developing states . To summarize, so-called right wing governments have little to no consistent track record in reducing the size of the state in the short and/or long term. I better stop now, this discourse may get into Marxism and not many people in North America enjoy listening to one speak of Marx (or even bother reading his works). Now back to the topic! hahahah

  16. Jess says:

    Bradley,
    The “marijuana prohibition” that you claim as the “true cause of social and personal damage” in your first post is a legal prohibition—there is no other kind—and removing said legal prohibition, same as alcohol prohibition, suggests advocating legalization of marijuana. Decriminalization of marijuana would just mean that there would be no jail time for victimless crimes such as drug possession, but the drug would still be illegal. And decriminalization doesn’t give the government any power to tax or regulate the production, sale or use of marijuana, so it does nothing to control or diminish the power of the drug sellers and organized crime and it doesn’t stop them from profiting from the sale of marijuana. Decriminalization will make people fearless about having marijuana in their possession, which will give the drug sellers even more business.

    And the social services programs in Canada offer drug rehabilitation services to anyone who is willing to accept it in this country. Portugal can also offer these services, but do they enforce it? Are Portuguese citizens being given therapy against their will? It would be naïve to assume that all drug users would willingly seek help, so what is the government of Portugal doing to ensure that the addicts get rehabilitated instead of incarcerated?

    • Jordan Baribeau says:

      “Under Portugal’s new regime, people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail.”

      Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html#ixzz1wTBVXSyw

      I want to add however, as shown in the article, it is arguable as to whether Portugual’s drug laws (or lack of) have ‘worked’.

      One final point. It should be noted that a focus, or shift to decriminalization will likely follow a shift in how drug users are handled by the state. It’s quite clear that the state ought to embrace two approaches in tackling drug use. First it has to pursue social delegitimization and second, utilize treatment as a primary condition for handling repeat drug users. Due to the simple fact that the state hardly PREVENTS crimes rather RESPONDS to crimes, it’s clear that any ‘war’ on drugs is bound to fail on a social level.

  17. Jeff says:

    What ever happened to living a morally correct life (not politically correct) life, where right was right and wrong was wrong and the majority of people actually knew the difference???

    Society today says that because a certain group of people want to do something, that before, was not acceptable by social or legal standards, the answer is to change the rules so it is now acceptable.

    Example #1: Drivers on Toronto’s 401 or Alberta’s highway from Edmonton to Ft. McMurry don’t obey the speed limit, so instead of police enforcing the law…let’s change the law and make the speed limit match what the drivers are doing! After all…people are going to speed anyways.

    Example #2: Saskatoon, SK is proposing a new by-law to “regulate adult services” in their city. It’s too hard for the police to control things legally, so essentially they are making it “okay” for prositution to exist, as long as it’s done in a certain area of the city and the city can make some money off the “sex-trade workers” (didn’t we use to call them hookers?) by making them register for a business license! After all…they’re going to sell themselves anyway.

    Example #3: Our government has decided that it is okay for a patient to wait a year or more for treatment or surgery. But a heroin addict can receive free unlimited supplies at an “injection centre” or junkies can receive a fistful of needles to shoot up for free in the inner city and then have the right to just throw their free used needles in the park or school playground! All because we don’t want these poor people to get sick from sharing a needle…(light bulb!)…they are killing themselves with the toxins they are injecting into their bodies! But let’s change the law for them. After all…they are going to do it anyway.

    Society is slowly (or maybe not so slowly) blurring the line between right and wrong. And for church leaders to join the fray in support of anything non-biblical is, in my opinion, unacceptable! But, that’s one of the biggest problems with our modern church. Some are willing to say anything’s okay as long as you still come once in awhile (and bring a cheque for the offering plate).

    It seems to me that the Bible is pretty self-explanitory, isn’t it? I don’t see alot of “grey” areas. Jesus didn’t say “maybe” do this or it’s “kinda” okay if you do that. Stick to the Word! God doesn’t make mistakes and I don’t believe He makes “changes” either. Doesn’t it say that He is the same “yesterday, today and forever”?

    The “LAW” never changed from the time God gave it to the Israelites in Exodus to Jesus time in the 1st century. And it never changed after that either…we Christians still live by the same laws, don’t we? Jesus NEVER did away with the law, but fulfilled it. The difference is how God gives the Law to us, no longer on tablets of stone carried around in a gold box, but written on our hearts and in our minds by the Holy Spirit.

    Laws, Biblical or civic, are not made to hinder us or deprive us (although many see it that way), but are to protect us and keep us safe. Laws were made to guide mankind down God’s righteous path. We choose to construe laws to try and make OUR path look righteous.

    Choose today whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

  18. Jess says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I agree with everything you’ve stated because I also have a Christian worldview; but unfortunately, very few of our lawmakers actually submit to our God’s authority in our present times. Our government is becoming increasingly secular–just like our public school system–in order to accommodate the worldviews of other faiths and non-faiths. We can see a distinction between right and wrong based on our own biblical values, but other cultures may not share the same values. For instance, in the Muslim culture it is acceptable to tell a lie if it means it would preserve someone’s honour, and divorce is also acceptable.

    The evils of this world, as we see them, have been around for thousands of years–ever since Adam’s fall. In biblical times, these issues were addressed by a call to repentance and most people actually did turn to the Lord and seek His will in such matters.

    But times have changed, and the concept of repentance is almost obsolete in today’s society. Society is now driven by a sense of entitlement–it’s the thought that society owes something to these people who are doing such destructive things to themselves, perhaps because they might have been victims of abuse or neglect in their childhood.

    I truly believe that if we want to get to the root of the problem, we need to look at the family unit to see what children are experiencing and what they are being taught from an early age. And I also believe that parents need all the community support they can get to help raise their children.

  19. Derek says:

    PAstor Mark and Church of the Rock

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=k39kc-xZ3ds

    I don’t understand why you making a fuss about marijuana, when there are things in your church that needs eradicating, like worldly music you bring into Gods house and then change the lyrics to be ok to be sung in the Church.Example, Elvis, The Beatles and other worldly stuff. Elvis was an occultist, Did you not know that? The Beatles where also apart of Aleister Crowley’s teaching and Did not John Lennon say when he was alive that The Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ and they were responsible for bring yoga to North America, See I know some of you think its ok to do yoga without doing research. I just don’t understand.

    Now I know that there are some So called Christians that have a fetish for worldly things, so they will Get angry with what I am saying, Because the truth sets you free but its probably going anger you first. And if one needs proof about what I am saying Just Ask it from and I will Post A Link.

  20. Mark Hughes says:

    I don’t see the connection.
    Churchill was not a christian so I should never quote him in church? Tim Horton was not a Christian so I should never allow his donuts in the church. Henry Ford was not a Christian so I had better get rid of the church van? We are not worshiping any of these people or embracing their ideology… merely using their discoveries for God’s purpose.
    The apostle Paul quoted the pagan prophets to communicate the gospel truths to his secular audience. I have never figured out why people can’t see the parallels to what we do today.

  21. Derek says:

    Please give me bible versus that Paul used to quote pagan prophets to preach the Gospel.please mark , show me.

    Let me ask you a question:
    When God told Saul to utterly destroy the amalekites and every thing they had, what did Saul do wrong.
    Why God led the Israelites to promised land he said, don’t do those things they do. What are new believers suppose to think when they see us doing half secular things in the church, do they think its ok to entertain ourselves with the world. It’s real obvious that you’re using entertainment in the church to pull people to come to church, you are puttin you’re self in the way of the Holy spirit, instead of God drAwing them. So you Are going have to continue to use entertainment to keep the people because that’s what brought them to church.

    In revelation 3: whY does The Lord vomit out the church of laodicean church?

    I ask you not to believe my case that Iam pushing towards you, I ask you to pray to God and ask him
    Regarding such matters

  22. Derek says:

    Oh by the way don’t use what I say that you can’t bring Tim hortons in church because it’s secular, please use common sense to what Iam talking about. Iam talking about the preaching of the word of God, Iam talking about worshiping God in spirit and in truth.

  23. Derek says:

    Pastor mark no where in Acts 17 verse 18 says that bringing secular music, then changing it to christian lyrics makes it Christian. But when I read this scripture in context, in verse 28,they said we are also his offspring,
    He answers them in verse 29 by saying Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and mans devising. (Acts 17:29.hmmm… Now tell me brother , I see in scripture, the people in Athens being corrected on divine nature, I don’t see anything here that’s supports doing things from the world to reach the lost.

    Holy:
    The underlying implication of the usage of “holy” is difference. The verbal root literally means “to cut,” “to cut out,” “to separate from,” or it can imply “to make a cut above,” thus “to make special.” A holy thing is an object that is different from that to which it is compared.

    My only last request to you is to see what the bible says about mixing the sacred and the profane.

  24. Mark Hughes says:

    Derek
    We are off topic but since I am sitting on a long plane ride I will indulge your preoccupation with this subject. Actually I think the Tim Hortons coffee is an entirely accurate comparison. The concept of the separation of secular and sacred is not a biblical concept at all, but one that comes out of gnostic Greek thought. The Judaic worldview did not recognize such a dichotomy.
    There is nothing intrinsically evil about any song. It is just a combination of musical notes on an instrument. God created all musical sounds. In fact, there is no so-called sacred music in scripture. We have not one reference as to what ‘kind’ of music we should sing to God, only to “let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Ps 150) and David then lists all the known instruments of his day. There was a time when the church regarded electric guitars as unholy. The only thing that makes something unholy is to whom you direct it. If we take a “secular” song and direct it to God it is no longer secular. We did not invent this concept. The Salvation Army brass band music was originally the tavern music of the day when founder Gen William booth was trying to reach his generation for Christ.
    In 1 Cor 9:1-8 Paul takes the concept a step further and says that even meat offered to idols is not unholy because these gods are non-existence. He says that Christians who do not understand this are of a weak conscience. He does go on to say it would probably be best not to eat it if it just causes these little ones to stumble. “Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him. Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.”
    If we apply the same principle to music ‘offered to idols’, then ‘secular’ music is nothing unless you think it is something. The gods of Elvis, the Beatles or Kiss mean nothing to me. The sounds that their guitars and drums made are in no way evil in themselves. If I can use those sounds to win people to Christ, like William Booth did a hundred years, ago I will not think twice about it.
    Derek, you may want to go re-read Acts 17. Paul was clearly using pagan poetry and their pagan alter to the Unknown God to point the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers to Christ. The pagan poets of today are mostly musicians. An entire generation is deeply steeped in their music. If I, like Paul, can redirect them to the living God I am going to give it my best shot. If we ignore our culture and pretend that non-Christians will pack our churches to sing How Great Thou Art, we do so at our own peril. You are welcome to have the last word, but you will not convince me otherwise… primarily because I believe you are wrong.

  25. Derek says:

    Pastor Mark

    So let me get this straight..Are saying its ok to take a song that a secular artist made, change the lyrics from unholy to holy. I mean I read acts 17 and Paul is clearly saying in Acts 17 verse 23, THen Paul Stood in the midst of the areopagus and said, Men of athens I perceive that in all things you are very religious;verse 23 For as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an alter with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.verse 24 GOD, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.
    I mean Paul is clearly correcting them on Worship to God, the Real GOD. I mean i am reading and nothing that your talking about I see hear.
    But I mean I am not saying that music notes are evil. I am saying The hands that Play the music is different story, If you think its ok To take a song from led zepplin, Stair way to Heaven and change the words then go ahead and do it. I am only asking you do some research on the matter. Because when churches take songs like that, They don’t know that when you play Stair way to Heaven backwards its a whole worship song to the devil.Many of the music artists are inspired from ALeister Crowley the most wicked man in the past to centuries.

  26. Mark Hughes says:

    Yes, that is exactly what Paul did. He took the unholy and used it to point people to the true God. Glad we are getting on the same page here.

    And do you know what happens when you play country and western music backwards? You get your truck back, you get your wife back, you get your dog back….

  27. honey7005 says:

    Hi Pastor Mark,
    This is a different subject, but I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your sermons, especially your sermon called Community Rocks part 3. It was very interesting how you brought about the acronym GLU – Grinding, Loving, and Unselfish relationships.
    I think everyone needs to read proverbs.

    Thanks Pastor Mark for all your great sermons!

  28. beblessed316 says:

    Very good blog! Something that Whoopie Goldberg and others of her ilk should read. As far as using it for medical purposes, I have often wondered why it isn’t put into pill form? There are so many bad, addictive medications out there already that are essentially harmful, wouldn’t this actually be a better alternative?) Or is it a different affect when you smoke it? Thankfully, I (as I am sure most of us) have never been put in a position where we had to find out.

  29. Sandi says:

    @Evelyn Bennett – How do we know that Pat’s not already smokin’ it? With the stuff that seems to be coming out of his mouth over the last year…kinda makes ya wonder, doesn’t it? ;)

  30. William says:

    Hi,

    I think the music thing is like this, a lot of it is written under influence. the music itself as well as the lyrics. Sing a new song unto the Lord psalm 96:1 what we have Mark is a spirit of the world within the body and I tell you the truth God is not saying great job. So while I understand the reasoning behind such things it is nevertheless not fit for worship worship is to come from our hears and the very depth of our beings to the God of all who created and loves us. it is the same as having a buddha statue and saying I dedicated it to God so it is ok which I had someone say to me within my own family. who then lost her family within a year or so demons are real as you are aware.God is not a God in need He supplies our needs so while I appreciate your heart and I sincerely mean that I still stand against what is in operation within the body and this is part of it the enemy uses music and I have done quite a lot of research on it the fact remains much of what is heard sure it sounds good but there is underlying factors such as the influences they are written under and not just referring to drugs, it is something that each one must have understanding of but I highly doubt you would have a witch come and speak but yet the music intended for worship has much roots within witchcraft and demonology satanism and the whole do what thou wilt philosophy etc. just something to think about brother.
    -William

  31. lss says:

    It is a shame that a topic so important has been smeared with intellectual pride. Smoking pot is highly addictive and family values get shot out the door. Should it be legalized?
    Here are some reasons I think not.
    1. It is still embarrassing because it is illegal.
    2. Some pot growers have stopped because of the new more strict laws.
    3. Dealers and growers get hit (home invasions) by lower level gangs because they can’t have an alarm or call the cops. Forcing them to quit.
    4. You can’t go to the liquor/convenience store and get some.
    You can’t argue with these points. It is my experience and personal knowledge. Many years I spent thinking smoking pot was okay. It seemed to help me deal with the pain and disappoint in my life. Now I realize all it did was prevent me from facing them. Yes I raised a family and ran my own business. That was part of the trick. Slowly though it caught up to me and left me facing issues that should of been dealt with 15yrs earlier.

    Anyone who says it should be legalized is wrong. Dead Wrong! Make it hard for the growers and dealers. Take away there material possessions. Fine them heavily. Force them to have high retainers with there lawyers. This will drive up the price and make it harder for the consumer to purchase.

  32. Francis says:

    I’ve been a pot smoker since I was 16 years old. I know what it’s like to be high. I also know what it is like to be drunk. With that said, I can honestly say with experience that being stoned is nothing like being drunk. If all those alkies would turn to smoking weed there would be alot less troubles. Sure it is better to be straight, however if your going to indulge with something, pot is the best way to go.

    • jane_eyre says:

      Francis..
      I once was a pot smoker too. I thought much as you did and laughed at people that said it was harmful. However, it made me not the same person that I should have been: I had no motivation, I was numb to the world, I made impulsive, stupid decisions that I normally wouldn’t have. Trading getting drunk for getting high is just trading one problem for another. Pot kills brain cells, causes cancer, renders people unmotivated and more likely to make stupid decisions, and can have a host of other health problems along with it (infertility, erectile dysfunction, skin problems, psychiatric disorders, among others.), so I don’t see it as the best way to go. The best way to go is for someone to acknowledge WHY they are smoking pot and getting drunk, and get to the bottom of their real issues. No one “needs” to get high or drunk. If they do this on a continual basis, they have a real problem. Why do it? I know my reasons were stupid and I was also very depressed at the time.
      The problem with pot isn’t that it’s illegal. The problem is how it destroys you, just how any misuse of a substance will do.

  33. jane_eyre says:

    hi there Pastor Mark,
    I really enjoy your blog.
    I think that one of the chief problems in North American (and many other world countries) is that people tend to see pot use as harmless, and pot smokers as “funny”. So much of the media shows the “silly pothead” stereotype and it’s even become acceptable on mainstream TV.
    Then, there is the all-encompassing myth that pot is not addictive. It is. I’ve seen it. I saw it ruin someone’s life. Someone who was bright and had potential, but instead ended up spending their last dime on pot instead of food, and fried their brains on the stuff. This person was an addict, but again, where would they turn to, because “it’s just pot, it’s harmless!”. They also were a long way from admitting their addiction. I pray they do someday.

    The people that say that alcohol is worse for you than pot are forgetting one thing. Many people can enjoy a beer or a glass of wine without intending to get drunk, or wishing to get drunk. Alcoholics cannot, but that’s a whole other story. Those that smoke pot are smoking it to get high. There is no other reason (unless it’s medicinal, but again, that’s a slippery slope). Pot is smoked to get high. Period.

    So, if the government sends a message and legalizes marijuana, that’s saying that it’s perfectly ok to get high and heck, we even encourage it!!! Yes, there are prescription drugs that are also very addictive..but they are not prescribed to get high. They are prescribed for health reasons. Medicinal marijuana also tends to be more of a carte blanche in the places that have it: it isn’t regulated very well, and there are many obtaining it who are obtaining it simply to get high off of the stuff.

    Marijauna also leads people to try other things. I know many pot smokers will laugh at me here, but really..after a while, the high isn’t enough. You need more and more pot just to get a “buzz”..and you don’t realize what it’s like not to be stoned anymore. Many people say that they started into heavier drugs after first trying marijuana, and also, that doing marijuana made them make stupid decisions and do things they normally wouldn’t.

    So thank you, Pastor Mark, for taking a stand here.

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  35. Bradley Pierce says:

    jane_eyre I am sorry, but I just can’t let one of your comments go. ‘Pot kills brain cells, causes cancer, erectile dysfunction?’. I would like to know where on God’s green earth you got this information! You are just plain ignorant! Next time you make claims like that, do your research!

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