“I have the freedom to do anything, but not everything is helpful. I have the freedom to do anything, but I won’t be controlled by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 CEB
Today, I stumbled across an interesting example of the positive effects of allowing more freedom in something that is perceived as a danger to society.
In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs for possessing small personal quantities. If you are caught, you end up with about the equivalent of a parking ticket. They included some counseling opportunities for those who are caught to help be sure that they understand the risks of drug use and know how to be responsible about it. That seems a lot more loving than tossing personal drug users in jail for up to a year, as was the previous way users were dealt with.
I have actually written to the local Member of Parliament about the idea of decriminalization in order to reduce prison overcrowding. I didn’t even realize the money that would be saved in the judicial system! I had no idea that a wider decriminalization was actually being put into practice already, I think I was largely drawing my inspiration for such a suggestion from the Bible. It’s great to see it actually being put into practice to an extent!
Christianity could stand to learn something from this in regards to being more open to understanding things that are perceived as “dangerous” to the faith’s society. From what I understand, we’re not the ones who are supposed to be judging. We should be learning about these things together with those involved with these “dangers” to help widen all of our understandings.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but Jesus did tend to spend a significant time socializing with “sinners”, didn’t he?
A couple of references:
Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies
‘This Is Working’: Portugal, 12 Years after Decriminalizing Drugs (2 pages)