By Austin B. Hahn

After writing my article on abortion, I received a message from Shaunley Kemp, who’s with the Wesleyan Church, suggesting that I might like this video and asking me to comment on it. For those of you who have not read my article, you can read it here.

Here was my response:

Hi, Shaunley. Thank you for sharing this video with me. (You shared it with me on Google+ back in January. Pardon the belated reply.) I always appreciate when someone offers me another perspective on an issue. While I acknowledge and respect your beliefs, the United States is a multicultural nation that has a wide range of religious groups. If we were to base our laws on religion, there would be chaos in our political system because one religion would conflict with another’s beliefs. For example, according to Malcolm Clark, an emeritus professor of religion at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, “. . . while Muslims, Christians, and Jews usually believe they worship the same God, most would not normally say that Vishnu (a Hindu god) or Amida Buddha are the same as God or Allah. In Hinduism . . . three gods exist – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva” (40-1). With that being said, I think this is why the United States is a secular nation. To impose a law concerning one’s religious beliefs would be to disregard others and the First Amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Thanks for taking the time to read my response.

Sources

U.S. Constitution. Amend. I.

Clark, Malcolm. Islam for Dummies. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Print.

Drug War Facts

Source: Drug Policy Alliance

The War on Drugs is a Failure.

Today, the U.S. accounts for 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. We owe that distinction to the War on Drugs, which puts more people behind bars each year.

It’s time to face the facts about our nation’s War on Drugs!

Conservative estimate of annual government spending on the U.S. War on Drugs: $51,000,000,000

Number of people arrested in 2013 in the U.S. on nonviolent drug charges: 1.5 million

Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2013: 693,482

Number of those charged with marijuana law violations who were arrested for possession only: 609,423 (88 percent)

Number of Americans behind bars in 2013 in federal, state and local prisons and jails: 2,220,300 or 1 in every 110 adults, the highest incarceration rate in the world

Proportion of people incarcerated for a drug law violation in state prison that are black or Hispanic, although these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites: 57%

Number of states that allow the medical use of marijuana: 23, plus the District of Columbia

Tax revenue that drug legalization would yield annually, if currently-illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco: $46.7 billion

Number of people killed in Mexico’s drug war since 2006: 100,000+

Number of students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction: 200,000+

Number of people in the U.S. that died from an accidental drug overdose in 2013: 43,982