Today I read health-related story with a much wider implication than health. Apparently, a cross-party inquiry concludes that we should decriminalise illegal drugs.
Having skimmed through the 150-pages I have to say that the BBC report is rather misleading. Whilst the inquiry talks about decriminalisation, it also calls this depenalisation. It is no so much about letting everyone have all the drugs they want, but recognising that addiction is a disease (albeit one which starts with a choice) and that treatment is a better solution than prison (especially given that there are a lot of drugs circulating in the prison system). I have no problem with this. In fact it seems like a good idea. Where cannabis is concerned, the inquiry recommends that the government monitor Colorado, Washington and Uruguay where it has recently been legalised.
The BBC article implies an attitude of "people are going to take drugs anyway, so let's make it safer for them to do so". I don't think this is really what the inquiry's recommendations are getting at, but I will say that the committee's document does contain phrases such as, 'We accept that it is impossible to...' with unsuprising regularity.
There seems to be a lot of this around at the moment. From those who talk about 'reality-based theology' to strategies for dealing with drug misuse and abuse which assume that the user will never be able to stop, it would appear that whichever way we turn there are people saying that we should accept something because it's like that.
I saw a postcard the other day which proclaimed "I set myself incredibly low standards and aim to fall just short of them" or words to that effect. This is mediocrity in the extreme and I for one am not buying into it. Yes, I have a tendency to sin; no, I cannot conquer it by my own efforts. But we were created good and nothing is impossible for God. A little co-operation with grace goes a long way. I don't think that we should ignore the fact that we are going to fail, to sin, to take drugs, to commit crimes, and we should be prepared, and we should devise and implement means which help us not to, and which help us to pick ourselves up and start again afterwards, but that does not mean we should re-define objective wrongs as acceptable.
God sees that we sin, he sent his only Son who suffered and died for our reconciliation, and he continues to love us and is always there when we turn back to him. And we must show this same face of compassionate welcome to others. But he doesn't say, "OK, everyone, 2000 years on you're still sinning, so we're having a new strategy: it no longer matters what you do." If we have this pessimistic attitude of 'it's going to happen anyway' we will never be able to accept the grace to get up again when we fall, never draw any closer to God, never grow in holiness. If we consider the inevitable as acceptable we will end up seeing it as good. Up will be down and black will be white. It will become even harder to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, life and death, if we start calling them by the same name: "legal".