This post is a prelude to a series of postings I have planned for years about religion and the American Constitution. When I begin that I will refer to the Bible and the Constitution for exact quotes. Today, I'm working from memory.
Jesus said, "As a man thinketh, so is he." Yes, I believe that. I believe it on a religious level and on a psychological level, but I do not believe it on a legal or criminal level. Mental sin is between you and God. Acting out a sin is often, not always, a crime. For instance, the making and selling of cigarettes and booze may be a sin, but it is legal as hell. Masturbating MAY be a sin - certainly, though, it is one we are all guilty of. Should we go to jail for it? Of course not. It is a more of a sin against our children that we keep secret auto-erotic asphyxiation and every year talk about "mysterious" suicides-by-hanging.
Being in a gang may be a sin, but it is the ACTIONS of the gang that can be crimes. Murder is a sin and a crime, but is it more of a crime if it is done out of sheer hatred than if it is done "in a moment of passion?" I think not, because NONE of us can see into another's head. Dylan wrote, "If my thought dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guilloine." That's true of all of us at some time or another.
The latest items I read about possible sin and "crime" deal with marijuana. It is wayyyy over-criminalized and we, as taxpayers, pay to lock up people who are as harmless as a man with two beers in him walking home. If one is not driving and not giving pot to minors I argue that there is no crime. If a tipsy man is walking or being driven home, he is no criminal. We cannot afford, as a nation, to lock up every drunk or pot smoker unless their ACTIONS are harming OTHERS overtly. We should be ashamed to be the foremost nation on earth when it comes to the percentage of our population behind bars.
Gov. Christie recently said it would cost 1/2 as much to "treat" marijuana smokers as to incarcerate them. So what? That's still too much to pay and I know that, since Christie is a Republican, that he would count that very treatment as a reason to take away that person's right to vote!
That's what the "drug war" has always been 1/2 about - the demonization of people. Nixon ginned it up along with the "Southern strategy" as a way to bring voters to the GOP. (Those anti-war protestors are just high on drugs.) The CIA joined the government of England (opium in China) as drug pushers. England just wanted the money. The CIA was out to demonize people, mainly people of color. The other 1/2 of the drug war is an excuse to prop up right-wing dictators with military equipment and to "militarize" our local police forces. These actions go unpunished on earth although they are criminal. They'll see what God thinks later on.
I like the ballot proposition that will be voted on in November in Colorado. Basically, it says, we'll distribute, tax, and control pot like booze. The federal government has it's hands full, so how about letting go a little, Fed, and let states make a few decisions? The horror that has gone on in Mexico is a reflection of what the U.S. should have learned during prohibition. And that horror is blood on the hands of the U.S. government. It's a crime. Let people grow weed in a locked greenhouse or home, along with state-controled sales and save Mexico!
Three things have grossly distorted American politics: the media - deregulation of our media ownership laws, the abandonment of the Fairness Doctrine, and the fact that we PAY for democracy; the usurpation of religion by politicians; and the jailing and government murder of innocent people. I know so many people who feel it unfair, or would feel it unfair, if THEIR child went to prison for a joint. But that black boy... 'First they came for the pot smokers, but I was not a pot smoker, so I paid no mind.' "Money doesn't talk, it swears (Dylan)." So money is speech? Then why was Paris Hilton born with more freedom of speech than Fannie Lou Hamer? That's a crime. The Constitutional view of media, esp. broadcast media is that the medium belongs to the People and the same should hold true of the entire electromagnetic spectrum (internet). So WE the People shouldn't pay a dime for political commercials. We should protest the giving away of huge amounts of money to TV and radio and MAKE them set aside debate time, no commercials. "Next they came for the protestors, but I was not a protestor..." And what the hell is with the Morman Church OWNING Marriot, etc., etc. and other denominations OWNING businesses? Take that away! That's a crime against small business owners having to compete with tax-free institutions. And tax churches - we did until the Johnson administration. Some of them or more country clubs, with gyms and movie theaters, than the instrument of God.
WE pay too much for locking people up for things that are sins, not crimes.