Just say “No” to pious sounding big government.



Another day, another terrible article on the Gospel Coalition. This ministry, at least as far as there blog is concerned, continues a downward spiral.  Kevin DeYoung posted an article entitled “Just say “No” to Legalizing Drugs”. The article contains very little of DeYoung’s own words, most of it is consists of quotations from John P. Walters, former “Drug Czar” during the George W. Bush administration in his article in The Weekly Standard, a top Neo-Conservative magazine. I don’t really want to deal with Mr. Walters comments, I want to focus more on Mr. Deyoung Publishing the article. But I will say a few brief words regarding the comments Mr. Walters makes:


Walters, like any good Neo-Conservative big government crony, attempts to convince people to deny reality. Is there a single American alive today, other than Mr. Walters, who could honestly take a look at the lives of teenagers in any town in America, or the intercity in any part of the nation and say with a straight face that the war on drugs has succeeded? Drugs infest our society now more than ever. They are both easy to get and unsafe. As I will show in a moment, to deny the prison system is clogged due to the war on drugs is to deny reality. America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The War on Drugs has not only failed to make Drugs any less available or widespread, it has clogged America’s prison system and created a new class of criminals, it has ignited a drug war in Mexico, it has expanded the power of the federal government to a Un-Constitutional level and trampled the rights of our citizens. If you want to read a rebuttal of Mr. Walters:

This article exposes some of his absurdities: http://www.mediaite.com/online/the-weekly-standard-is-absolutely-wrong-about-drug-legalization/

Here is a study from the Libertarian Cato Institute studying the effects of drug legalization in Portugal: http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/greenwald_whitepaper.pdf

And here is a simple graph, showing the obvious facts he attempts to deny, that our prisons are clogged: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/US_incarceration_timeline-clean-fixed-timescale.svg


But statements like that of Mr. Walters are nothing new, they are so numerous they are not even worth mentioning, much less to blog about. What makes it special is that Kevin DeYoung blogged this on his “reformed” blogspot. There are three big problems with his approach to the issue of drugs and what the states attitude towards them should be:


1. DeYoung did not consult the Bible on drugs. 

In fact, he didn’t consult the Bible on anything. In an issue of remarkable importance, ethically and practically, he did not adduce a single verse in favor of his assumed position that drugs are inherently sinful, or any other positions. I don’t have the space, time, or frankly the experience to write an article detailing with the Sinfulness of drug use or lack thereof.  But, it doesn’t take a scholar to note Drugs are not specifically mentioned in scripture. This should be all the more incentive to laboring in Biblical principles instead of just assuming a cultural practice is in accord with Biblical teaching.


2. DeYoung did not consult the Bible on the scope and limits of government. 

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter that the state is supposed to praise those who do good and punish those who do evil (1 Peter 2:13-14). But this is certainly a qualified statement, the state is not supposed to eliminate ALL evil from society. In a fallen world, that is a manifest impossibility. A state that attempts to eliminate all evil from society would have to be a totalitarian state that controls all aspects of life, and even then it could not root out all evil. The state is tasked, rather, with eliminating severe public manifestations of evil. Just because something is unhelpful to society,  such as drug use, does not mean the government has the authority to seek to destroy it, much less to trample everyone else’s rights in the process. What in the Bible could be used to support a massive and powerful Federal Government seeking ever increasing amounts of control over peoples lives in order to purge society of things it Autonomously deems unlawful and dangerous? That sounds more like statist Egypt than God ruled Israel.


3. DeYoung did not consult the Law of God. 

Nowhere in this article does DeYoung look to the Law Code of Scripture. In Biblical times, drunkeness was both a heinous sin and a social problem, just as it always has been. But nowhere in the Law was the government authorized to punish it. Why should Christians support the already massively intrusive war on drugs when God’s OT Law didn’t even list a similar crime, alcohol abuse, as a crime worthy of punishment? If DeYoung is convinced that drug use requires such drastic action, he should be able to persuade us that the Bible teaches it also requires drastic action. Because if God in his Law did not think similar addictions were worthy of a drastic government initiated “war”, then we certainly shouldn’t either.




We need to look to scriptures for the answers to our ethical questions, our questions of the power of the state, and the Law of God. The further we move away from a Bible centered view of Law and Government, the more we will move towards the humanistic view of Government. A Government that takes the role of savior, purging society of all evil. A state that decides what should or should not be punished by the sword autonomously , instead of looking to the scriptures for the standard of wise governance is a state that has assumed the place of God. Kevin DeYoung should have approached this subject analyzing the Bibles teaching on these matters instead of supporting a popular Neo-Conservative political position without any Biblical support on a supposedly “reformed” blog.



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