The Boston Archdiocese spends big money in last-minute effort to prevent legal marijuana in Massachusetts.
According to reports the Catholic church in Boston is dumping nearly a million dollars to defeat the ballot measure known as Question 4. The measure would legalize marijuana in Massachusetts.
The Boston Globe reported Friday that the local archdiocese is spending $850,000 in an effort to beat the ballot measure known as Question 4.
However, despite the Catholic church’s efforts, the most recent poll numbers suggest the measure will likely pass.
Nine states have marijuana measures on the ballot this November, and in five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — voters will decide on legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
Currently Massachusetts is one of five states where voters will decide whether or not to legalize recreational pot, while four others will weigh whether or not to establish medical marijuana programs.
Recreational marijuana has been decriminalized for adults in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., while medical marijuana programs are currently in place in 25 states and the nation’s capital.
Attempting to justify the Catholic church’s donation to the anti-marijuana campaign, archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon said:
It reflects the fact that the archdiocese holds the matter among its highest priorities. It’s a recognition that, if passed, the law would have significantly detrimental impacts on our parishes, our ministries.
Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for the pro-marijuana group YES on 4, said:
The archdiocese has come up with a position that, frankly, we think is based on unfounded assumptions and junk science. But they can spend their money any way they wish.
What I think the archdiocese is missing is the terrible harm that (marijuana) prohibition has done to people of color, to people who have chosen a substance that is less dangerous than alcohol and have had their lives ruined because they’ve been arrested.
Borghesani makes a good point. The War on Drugs in general, and the criminalization of marijuana in particular, has been in reality a war on poor people and people of color. By defending the unjust prohibition on marijuana the Catholic church is guilty of perpetuating the failed War on Drugs and the New Jim Crow.
In addition to the implicit racism, it should go without saying that a church that promotes the use of alcohol while fighting to maintain a prohibition against marijuana is the height of hypocrisy, and morally indefensible.
However, the Catholic church is not the only religious institution defending the unjust prohibition on marijuana. Mormons are being told to oppose recreational marijuana at the ballot box, and the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are instructing church members to vote against ballot initiatives that would legalize recreational marijuana.
Technically, the Catholic church is doing nothing illegal by acting as an anti-marijuana super Pac. Although the money would be better used compensating the numerous victims of pedphile priests, or simply by doing good works for the people of Massachusetts.
Ultimately, the fact that church funds are being used to influence American elections is not only only morally obnoxious, it is also yet another good reason why all churches should be taxed like any other business.
Bottom line: Free the weed; Tax the church.