African American pastors starting to come around

Jesus Saves: The Fight to Legalize Marijuana Has an Unlikely New Ally: African American Clergy

One night last week, at a forum in Columbia City to discuss the war on drugs and its impacts on communities of color, something unprecedented happened—an African American pastor spoke about the perniciousness of prohibition and his support for Initiative 502, which would regulate and tax marijuana in Washington State.

“I’m not promoting marijuana use—no, no,” said Pastor Carl Livingston of the Kingdom Christian Center. “Scripture says the body is a temple… but we need to do more to relax the drug laws that get our people caught up in the net.” The crowd, almost exclusively African American, applauded enthusiastically. […]

A few days after the forum, Neill Franklin—a former Baltimore police commander who is now the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)—told me he was pleasantly surprised to hear from Dr. Livingston. “One year ago, ministers were not where they are today on this issue,” Franklin says. “Especially not ministers of the black church.” […]

Dr. Livingston says he’s talking to other pastors about drug prohibition from a scriptural basis, and cites Amos 5:24. “Let justice roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream,” he says. “And when you look at the context, you see powerful people using the laws in ways that help powerful people and hurt less-powerful people.”

Preach on.

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22 Responses to African American pastors starting to come around

  1. Jules says:

    I just got home from work and turned on the news and saw “ISSA begins investigation into DEA for money laundering for Mexican Drug Cartels.” and the politicians giving commentary are all condemning Eric Holder and the DEA!

    We would have never seen this 5 years ago. What you do is helping change the world. Just wanted to let you know Pete.

  2. claygooding says:

    Kerli was right all along,,all it takes is education to break the drug cycle,,,drug war cycle.

    Who knew the drug czars were telling us how to win all along.

    This couch is where the educators can get educated,,thanks Pete.

  3. stayan says:

    I don’t possibly see how anyone lobbying to tax and regulate cannabis can accused of ‘promoting cannabis use’.

    Imagine if they were lobbying to increase the tax on tobacco, they sure as hell wouldn’t be accused of being ‘pro-tobacco’.

    • claygooding says:

      While I agree that marijuana needs to be legalized,,I will never pay taxes for it,,the government has gone one toke over the line and I refuse to pay them for the right to use cannabis.

      • LegsaKimbo338.p says:

        No worries Clay, it’s already the norm that a regulated and taxed product can be home grown/produced tax-free for personal use:

        US Regulations on Growing your own Tobacco:

        “There is no federal regulation for the amount of tobacco homegrowers can grow for personal use but that the department of agriculture of the state in which the tobacco may be grown might have some restrictions.”

        • Duncan20903 says:

          Could you look up the regulations on the home manufacture of distilled spirits for us? Hint: there aren’t any IIRC.

          But I find bemusing potheads with a felony cannabis grow in their home’s boiler room objecting to a tax and regulate scheme because they’d have to pay taxes. So what, you’ll do it in secret when it’s illegal but if they re-legalize you’re going to quit growing your own? WTF?? (I’m not talking about clay!)

          I personally don’t care where the money goes, just the bottom line.

  4. kaptinemo says:

    Finally, finally the ‘bettered wife’ is realizing the ‘husband’ doing the battering won’t change, and ‘she’ has decided to leave.

    For far too long, the African-American community has allowed(!) itself to be the subject of the grossest form of discrimination while in essence supporting that discrimination in the name of (false) propriety.

    For decades, it has taken the position of defending the drug laws for fear of being seen as verifying a stereotype of Jesse Jackson’s ‘bad black brother’. The very same kind of stereotype fostered by those racist bigots that crafted the drug laws to attack people of color with. In essence, the African-American community was enabling their own oppression.

    But you can only do that for so long until you realize that there will never be any positive change unless you quit that enabling. And that is what is starting to happen. First came the NAACP. Now this.

    Next will come African-American business community, who will realize that the tax money they pay out that is being used to arrest and incarcerate so many of their own people could have been better spent trying to build up their communities rather than tear them apart as the DrugWar so ably does. And, as anyone with sufficient mental wattage will tell you, when the money talks, the BS walks.

  5. Francis says:

    “Scripture says the body is a temple.” Agreed, that’s why I refuse to smoke schwag.

  6. Duncan20903 says:

    The Good Fairy Jesus saves, but the Bad Fairy Satan invests.

  7. Duncan20903 says:

    Headlines! Headlines! This will be on the final exam so pay extra close attention. If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!

    “Marijuana arrests fall in New York after rule change‎” ~ Reuters

    “Marijuana arrests drop after NYPD order” ~‎ Wall Street Journal

    “Marijuana arrests are down in NYC after new policy‎” ~ Z6Mag

    “Numbers Suggest Improper Marijuana Arrests Continue, Despite Order From NYPD Commissioner” ~ ‎WNYC (blog)

    “Arrests for pot have dropped after Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly issued a warning” ~ New York Daily News

    “After Illegally Busting Pot Smokers for More Than a Decade, the NYPD Starts Following the Law a Little More Often” ~ Opposing Views

    I know, I know, you’re all thinking “if I wanted to take the SAT I’d go back to college.” Next week we’re going to play the classic “find the popes in the pizza” game. Don’t you dare miss that!


    • claygooding says:

      “Numbers Suggest Improper Marijuana Arrests Continue, Despite Order From NYPD Commissioner” ~ ‎WNYC (blog)

  8. Benjamin says:

    The minute that the broader African American community realizes that the Drug War is a successor system to Jim Crow laws, the whole system will crumble. But as long as they campaign in favor of their own oppression, we’ll see no change.

    • kaptinemo says:

      But that’s the point; the A-A leadership is beginning to realize there simply is no percentage anymore in subscribing to the tenets of their own oppression.

      Which, of course, makes you wonder why said leadership did so in the first place, when a cursory examination of the historical evidence concerning the racially-bigoted origins of drug prohibition would have provided a multitude of reasons not to support it, but that’s another story.

      Just as alcohol Prohibition became too fiscally expensive to maintain, it also became politically expensive for the pols of the day to side with what became a political albatross. Just look at the editorial cartoons of the day and you can see the contempt most people had for the ‘Drys’. As you might gather, that contempt was well-earned. No pol but the dimmest bulb in the box or the most fanatical True Believer wanted to be associated with the degree of dislike that alcohol Prohibition produced in its’ latter days.

      The same process is beginning to take place amongst the A-A leadership. Long past time, but it’s happening.

      • claygooding says:

        and it is so neat to be watching it happen,,after years of mouth gaping open in disbelief.

        Our traffic at one site has grown about 20% in the last few weeks,,right after Fast and Furious hit the papers,,,I think that fiasco has opened a lot of shut eyes.

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  10. Addycat says:

    This is interesting. It obviously makes sense that African Americans SHOULD be outraged about drug laws and want to change them. However, I would like to propose that the Jim Crow theory is mostly wrong and misses a huge opportunity. I think the Drug War is mostly about power, not racism. Although there are many racist individuals involved in the system, the real damage that has been done is that the Drug War, along with Sentencing Guidelines systems and many other factors, has allowed a huge, insidious transfer of power from the judiciary to the legislative and executive branches. It is very difficult to understand the Drug War without understanding this power shift, which is one of the biggest factors undermining American democracy. If any of you are interested, I’m writing an article for the law review about this very subject, and hopefully when I’m done I can post it here.

    • darkcycle says:

      In the case of Afican American civil right there is a good reason this position is late in coming. The A.A. Civil rights movement in the South came primarily out of the Churches. The first and second generation Civil rights leaders were all Pastors and carry the title “Reverend”. The Baptist Church rejected drugs on a purely scriptural basis, hence the positions of these leaders were cosistant wuth their entire platform (in their estimations, of course).
      I’ve posted this before several times, so I hope the old folks here won’t mind my repitition.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        Of course there’s a difference between rejecting (some) drugs for yourself, and rejecting them for people who don’t share your philosophy of life.

        But seriously, is there some way we can make sure to keep “Bishop” Allen on the other side of the table?

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