|Photo: Conspiracy Planet|
|I just pray that all you marijuana supporters will join my other followers, and don’t forget to send the cash.|
The marijuana reform movement got some support from an unlikely source this week as 700 Club founder Pat Robertson, closely identified with the fundamentalist Christian Right in American politics, called pot legalization “getting smart on crime.”
Robertson aired a clip on a recent episode of his 700 Club TV show that advocated the viewpoint of drug law reformers who run prison outreach ministries, reports Stephen C. Webster at The Raw Story.
“It’s got to be a big deal in campaigns: ‘He’s tough on crime,’ and ‘Lock ’em up!’ ” Robertson said. “That’s the way these guys ran and, uh, they got elected. But that wasn’t the answer.”
Robertson’s co-host added that the success of religious-run programs for substance abuse therapy present an “opportunity” for Christian communities to lead the way on changing the drug laws.
“We’re locking up people that have taken a couple puffs of marijuana and next thing you know, they’ve got 10 years with mandatory sentences,” Robertson said. “These judges just say, they throw up their hands and say nothing we can do with these mandatory sentences. We’ve got to take a look at what we’re considering crimes and that’s one of ’em.”
“I’m… I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong,” Robertson said, “but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kind thing it’s just, it’s costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people. Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That’s not a good thing.”
While some in the drug reform movement praised Robertson’s unexpectedly sane comments and welcomed him as an ally, others wondered just how valuable was his endorsement.
The aging minister has come under fire in recent years with his increasingly off-the-wall comments, such as calling for the assassinations of foreign leaders and, in one of his craziest statements ever, blaming gay people for the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina — which earned him the mocking nickname “Hurricane Pat” among nonbelievers.
The 700 Club segment was mainly a plug for a new conservative group called “Right On Crime,” which co-opts the longtime talking points of groups like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) into conservative-leaning messages.
Which is pretty audacious, when you think about it: Steal the rhetoric of the marijuana reform movement, solicit the same donation base for money which would have gone to that movement, and then, by all appearances, NONE of the cash raised goes to policy reform — all of it goes to finance the brainwashing of, I mean, the “rehabilitation” of ex-cons through pumping them full of right-wing Christian thought-substitute.
Still, some in the reform movement reacted charitably to the endorsement.
“Our marijuana prohibition laws, which send people to prison for merely possessing a plant, are clearly immoral,” said LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin, a former Baltimore narcotics officer.
“As a Christian, and as a former law enforcer who is now working to undo the damage these laws have done to our families and our communities, I’m glad to see Pat Robertson joining the chorus of faith leaders calling for reform.”
Others, however, took a more cynical viewpoint.
“Now that the Christian Right has seen the way to do successful fundraising is to favor legalizing marijuana, suddenly that’s the Christian thing to do,” said one activist who asked to remain anonymous. “How convenient for Pat and his gay-baiting brethren that as soon as they see America passing the tipping point on marijuana reform, legalization suddenly becomes moral.”