The Bangor Daily recently published an article about a local religious group that supports the responsible religious use of marijuana, “Group uses marijuana as sacrament” (BDN, Nov. 29). I was surprised by how much the article focused on the negative and controversial connotations associated with the stereotypical use of marijuana use rather than the church’s varying facets of belief. Unfortunately, this is the first attention given by the general public, which will, inadvertently, cast a negative outlook on this truly caring organization. Equally unfortunate is the fact that this group does not in any way support the general legalization of marijuana is a mere footnote.
A much more adequate explanation of this organization’s true beliefs is provided biweekly at an open floor discussion. Most people who read and judge this organization solely on Judy Harrison’s article will, unfortunately, never attend this discussion and pose their concerns to the source, face to face.
When I heard of the group, I attended the discussion to be truly informed, and attended defensively. Immediately, I realized that this group required no personal defense mechanisms or protections of any kind. They do not preach hate, anarchy, or antiestablishment. Quite the opposite, they speak of tolerance, and only tolerance, of all creeds, races, sexualities, etc. This is no different than the Bible teaches, literally or through inference.
Intolerance spawned of rash thought and ignorance has become a spear to prod those different than ourselves. Religious freedom is upheld by our Constitution, and should not be ignored by a public who is afraid of diversity in opinion or creed. Even if we don’t believe in this church’s practices or don’t choose to practice as they do, we should let these followers practice their faith with the same understanding we are allowed to practice our own.