A New Opposition Front in the Drug War

A New Opposition Front in the Drug War
Posted by CN Staff on January 20, 2003 at 11:48:10 PT
By Salim Muwakkil
Source: Chicago Tribune 
A new front has opened in opposition to the war on drugs--a religious front. Several newly formed groups are contesting our prohibitionist, anti-drug strategies because they restrict religious freedom and "cognitive liberty."Drugs alter consciousness and "the right to control one's own consciousness is the quintessence of freedom," reads part of a manifesto of the Journal of Cognitive Liberties.
The journal is one of many projects of the four-year-old Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, a California-based, non-profit group that promotes intellectual freedom. The group defines cognitive liberty as "the right of each individual to think independently and autonomously, to use the full spectrum of his or her mind and to engage in multiple modes of thoughts and alternative states of consciousness."The group is involved in several projects designed to raise issues of cognitive liberty in relation to the war on drugs. In the journal's Summer 2000 edition, center co-director Richard Glen Boire wrote "the so-called `war on drugs' is not a war on pills, powder, plants and potions, it is war on mental states--a war on consciousness itself-- how much, what sort we are permitted to experience, and who gets to control it." Boire argued that much of the motivation for the war on drugs is an attack on "entheogenic" drugs (roughly, God evoking) that provoke "transcendent and beatific states of communication with the deity."With this point, Boire lends his argument to a growing movement of Americans devoted to the use of entheogens. One branch of this movement calls itself "neo-shamanistic" and seeks out shamanic inebriants that have been used for centuries. They cite examples like peyote cactus and psilocybin mushrooms among Native Americans, ibogaine among indigenous Africans, soma in India and ayahuasca in the Amazonian rain forest.Others are just spiritual seekers who argue that criminal sanctions on the use of these psychoactive sacraments restrict their religious freedom. Some make the argument that the state takes its cue from organized religions, which historically have demonized entheogens because they lessen the need for a clergy to connect God to humanity.Many of the substances they champion (psilocybin, peyote/mescaline, LSD, marijuana, etc.) are the same drugs that were called psychedelic during the 1960s. These substances are now called entheogenic to distance them from the hedonistic excesses of the '60s drug culture.Along with some newly discovered substances (salvia divinorium, phalaris grass, ibogaine, ayahuasca/yage, etc), some of which are still precariously legal, this fledgling movement is taking the spiritual high road in its opposition to the drug war.Another one of the groups leading the charge is the Council on Spiritual Practices. Founded by Robert Jesse, 43, a former vice president of Oracle, the group focuses on evoking "primary religious experiences," which they believe can be evoked by many practices, including fasting, meditation, prayer, yoga and ingesting entheogenic drugs.The group's signature text is "Psychoactive Sacramentals: Essays on Entheogens and Religion," which explores many facets of entheogenic use. The book is an account of a 1995 conference held at the Chicago Theological Seminary that was devoted to the subject of entheogens and religion.The council also has published Huston Smith's book, "Cleansing the Doors of Perception: The Religious Significance of Entheogenic Plants and Chemicals," a text that tackles the issue of drugs and spirituality in a series of wide-ranging essays.Smith, 83, is a religious scholar and author of many books, including "The World's Religions," the most widely used textbook on its subject for more than 30 years. He also has produced three series for public television: "The Religions of Man," "The Search for America" and (with Arthur Compton) "Science and Human Responsibility."In other words, Smith certainly is no fly-by-night bohemian just looking for a high. "I was extremely fortunate in having some entheogenic experiences, while the substances were not only legal, but respectable," Smith said, talking about his early experimentation with LSD, in a 2001 Salon magazine interview. "It seemed like only fair play that since I value those experiences immensely to do anything I could to enable a new generation to also have such experiences without the threat of going to jail."Criminalizing peaceful people who use psychoactive drugs to deepen their spiritual experience or widen their cognitive horizons is criminal itself, these groups argue.Their arguments are catching on.Note: Criminalizing peaceful people who use psychoactive drugs to deepen their spiritual life is criminal itself, some groups are arguing. Salim Muwakkil is a senior editor at In These Times. Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Author: Salim MuwakkilPublished: January 20, 2003Copyright: 2003 Chicago Tribune CompanyContact: ctc-TribLetter Tribune.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics Taking Psychedelics an Act of Sedition? Herb Sparks Interest as Legal Hallucinogen
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #8 posted by Dude on January 23, 2003 at 20:48:33 PT
Cannabis and Christ: Jesus used Marijuana
Good article on the role of cannabis in making anointing oil. One of Jesus' titles was "the anointed one".
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by herbdoc215 on January 20, 2003 at 18:21:28 PT
Chris is a good man under any religion...
Chris Bennett has worked along side of me for the last couple of years and has consistantly shown himself to me as an honorable and decent man. I also consider myself a christian gnostic and would urge all to read their dogma before dismissing them out of hand...truth is self-evident to those seeking the path to goodness. Chris even bravely came out to film my bust today by RCMP under false pretext to mess with me...hope he put's it on pot-tv. Cops pulled me over after them pulled alongside to see if it was me driving, it was me and Richard Cowan riding along bothering nobody and we were not even smoking...searched me and found a joint I had forgotten that somebody gave me the other day and the cop said he didn't care how many excemptions I had he was going to take me to jail...well Richard calls John Conroy and put the fear of God into pigs so they gave me a ticket (they said since I had applied for Refugee status my California licience was no good to me?) and made me stand in cold for an hour or two while they hard-timed me trying to scare us for whatever reason? I guess it seems I am going to follow Kubby's lead and become more proactive in this as waiting for them to mess with our lives is sure getting old. My next hearing for Immigrá is May 13, 2003 and they are trying to intimidate me into quitting before then every way possible...guess they don't understand how hollow their bullying looks compared to being tortured in a federal dungeon shaking with hell crawling over my soul. As soon as our hash creme reaches market I plan on directly proving many of Chris's claims with it so people can judge for themselves...this is a subject whose time is upon us. They can beat, threaten, and even kill me but they will never kill this knowledge or peoples desire to live full lives as we are placing this beyond the pigs reach. If we had a few more brave soldiers like Chris Bennett I could end this war in a week! Peace, Steve Tuck 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by The GCW on January 20, 2003 at 17:22:13 PT
Chris Bennett speaks... at Christians for Cannabis
(Page 9) - in the last couple of days, about the stories that ran a week or two ago...Mentions entheogens etc...Plus as it was asked (here)if Chris Bennett was Christian, He was also asked that same question at Christians for cannabis and He answers:"Yes I am, a Gnostic Christian to be exact."
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by Reverend Nick on January 20, 2003 at 17:08:51 PT:
Visit Reverend Rog at the THC Ministry
Rog has been talking about this for years. Visit his site and join us!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by The GCW on January 20, 2003 at 14:59:22 PT
It seems the Bible does tell Us what is coming and that seems a lot like what is here and near.I don’t think it is a coincidence that God created all the green plants and told Us they are all good, on the VERY 1ST PAGE OF THE BIBLE. The whole Bible seems to be saying resist the prohibition of cannabis.The Bible tells Us who is going to prohibit foods which God created, and that boils down to those who have fallen away from the faith.Way too much to ignore. See; Gen. 1 THE 1ST PAGE, it says all the greeeeeen is goooood.Malachi 1:6-14 subtitled Sin of the Priests; Gen. 3:9, God reconfirms all green plants are good, to Noah. “"Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.”; Proverbs 3:27, says “Do not withhold GOOD from those whom it is due, When it is in Your power to do it.”(God said the plants were GOOD);  1 Timothy 4:1-5, subtitled “Apostasy”, We are told who and why and when etc. the cannabis prohibition exists. That is Men who fall away from the faith, will be the ones to prohibit foods, which is what cannabis is. It says, “For everything created by God is good.”; Mark 6:13, “And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.”; Christ indicated things like, caging your brother for using a plant, were not well pleasing, and if You want a relationship with the Holy Spirit of Truth, You must obey Christ in John 14-16.Tripping over evil is bad. Tripping with Christ God Our Father while using cannabis with thanksgiving, brings comfort & joy to both Man and Christ.The Prohibition of cannabis is against Christ God Our Father.The Prohibition of cannabis may be the original living sin.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by JSM on January 20, 2003 at 14:28:39 PT
Peace of mind
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" Acts, 2:17Could it be that before our very eyes this is happening? Is it time? Is the way to be marked by use of these substances that are so feared by established religions, governments, and almost every other institution? I have no answers only questions and observations, but in my heart of hearts I feel and hope that just possibly something radical and wonderful may be taking birth. All the same, I do know this: Change is unstoppable, I just pray it will be positive.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by afterburner on January 20, 2003 at 13:17:52 PT:
entheogenic freedom
ego destruction ("war on drugs"/consciousness) or ego transcendence (mind manifesting, "God evoking" substances), that is the question.Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the First Amendment: it's time to reclaim our right. God is not dead. He is "buried under the soot."
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by NoahTao on January 20, 2003 at 13:15:39 PT:
This is wonderful!!!!!!
I myself have always felt that my usage of cannabis helps put me in tune with the spiritual world. It helps me overcome my pain and opens my mind to a blissful state of peace. Its great to hear about others who feel the same way. When will our government realize this and let us, as human beings, expand our own consiousness as we see fit? I am excited to learn more entheogens and their sacred use. Blessed be...
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment