A. Should the use of illegal drugs be permitted for cultural or religious purposes?

NO, I don't consider that any kind of drug should be permitted for cultural or religious puroposes because if you are living in a foreing country that does not allow the use of drugs even for "religious purpuses" you will be breaking the law, also the beliefs of each individual are different and that is something that we as humans beings have to understand. Now, if you live in a country that everybody practices the same religion, same culture and the law allows the use of drugs as part of their culture, society in that country will act and think different but since we live in a contry in which there is freedom of speech, beliefs, thousands of cultures and the use of illegal drugs is against the law, we have to keep it the way it is now. If we allow some cultures or religious groups to have and use the drug just because of their beliefs or culture people who does not even know anything about those cultures or religious groups will take advantage of it and it will make cahos in society, i don't think is a good idea to allow the use of drugs but if it is use to save one life that will be different.

No. First of all, no real religion with true values and beliefs would even support drug use. “Religions” that do support it obviously have ulterior motives, and are not religious at all. While religious groups can have exceptions to laws, such as Quakers not having to fight or kill in military service, religious or cultural groups cannot BREAK the law. They are in no way superior to any other group of people. And, allowing them to break drug use laws would therefore make everyone in the country entitled to the right to use drugs. Also, allowing this blatantly puts others at risk. The number of intoxicated driving related deaths would sky rocket, as would violent murders as drug use often associates with and contributes to these violent acts and deaths. Gangs would join or create religious groups to get the drugs, and either use or sell them to the public, causing more problems. The government has no real way to control or regulate legal drug use, especially to only specific groups. This country was founded on a set of Judeao-Christian beliefs that all men are created equal, intoxication and passionate violence were unlawful, and that it is unsafe for one man to risk the safety of others. Any legalization of drug use violates these beliefs, and is therefore, un-Constitutional and un-American. -GL

No. Religions should not be supporting drugs. I know the Christian religion considers drug use a sin. A person should not need to be under the influence of any substance in order to worship and believe in the religion. If drugs were legal in certain cultures or religions, then many people would make themselves apart of those societies so that they had an excuse to use drugs. Anytime someone got caught with drugs, they would just say, "it is what I believe in." The problem with this is that in our country we have freedom of religion and people would begin abusing our freedoms. No religion or culture should need illegal substances to carry on with their beliefs. -AS

I don't believe that illegal drugs should be permitted for cultural or religious purposes. Although many religions do consider the use of illegal substances a sin, many religions may try and make them permitted, but is this for an excuse to be permitted to use them? In order to worship and practice a religion, being under the influence should not be necessary. Religion is a faith or belief that a person practices and if one believes in these things, what does being influenced by illegal drugs do to improve the practice? If illegal drugs where, however, permitted many people may use it as an excuse and maybe even convert in order to use the excuse and the drug. This is where freedom of religion comes in and where many ethical concerns about the permitted use of illegal drugs for religion would take place. -AD

I think that religion or culture should not even be considered when thinking about allowing drugs to be legal. The catholic religion view the body as God's temple. The drugs will damage the body or the temple. How many new catholics do you think there would be if they said that catholics will be alowed to use cocaine. there is also that fact that people will use religion or culture to defend other crimes. There people that have stated that they killed someone because God told them to. this is a case where someone did something illegal and blamed it on thier religion. It would just be a bad idea all together to legalize drugs for any reason. They are bad for you and should be banned.

Yes, America is about other cultures joining with ours and we should respect their different choices. Just because they practice their religion differently than us doesn’t mean that they should be persecuted for it. The US government and the religious groups that use illegal drugs aren't stupid, they wouldn't let just anyone join their church so that they could use drugs. Most of the religions that use illegal drugs are from a certain cultures, like Indian, African, Jamaican or Native American . If a teenage white guy came to their church to join just for drugs they would be suspicious and probably wouldn't let him join. Also there are plenty of ways to get illegal drugs and getting them through a church would not be any easier that getting them from the outside world. As long as the people in the churches did not abuse them and used them for their ceremonies or rituals I would not see a reason why that is bad. Just because the Catholic or any other Christian church has different traditions and morals does not mean that what these other religions are doing is wrong in any way. -KH

Frankly, in my opinion, the use of illegal drugs should be permitted for all purposes, including those of cultural and religious origin. Stated another way, all illegal drugs should be made legal. If meth or heroine or ecstacy, whatever, was suddenly made legal and could be obtained at CVS, I'm not necessarily going to march there immediately and spend my entire college tuition on some substance. People have a choice when it comes to using drugs: use them and suffer consequences, or not use them and not suffer consequences. Addicts cannot make that choice any longer, but they made that first decision to inhale/consume/inject. The rest of us are independent people capable of thinking independent thoughts and making independent decisions. If you want to test the limits of your tolerance for acid abuse, I say go for it. After all, hopefully you are an educated person and know that that is not necessarily a wise decision. BUT, if you really want to do it, you have the inherent right as a free man/woman to do so. If you are not educated about the dangers of substance abuse, measures should be taken, programs made available, or devices put in place to inform you. Cigarettes kill you. That is a fact. Almost all drugs and substances, if used appropriately, can and will kill you. Therefore, in the interest of being unbiased, undescriminating, etc., all substances should be made legal. People need to start taking more responsiblity for their actions. If people are responsible for the things they put into their body, then it will not be surprising if they die or get addicted; it was their choice in the first place. Our country was founded on religious principles, but it was also created with the notion of a separation of church and state. Laws making drugs of abuse illegal (and certain other laws, though that discussion is for another wikispace), if indeed based on religious beliefs of drug use and sin and whatever, violate that designated separation. The rights of non-religious Americans shall not be infringed upon by the "secular" laws designed to reinforce the morals, etc., and doctrine of the church-going population. Life, liberty, property, and the freedom to abuse substances, even if you know they are really really really bad for you. Yeah. - SL

I think that the use of illegal drugs should be permitted in limited amounts for cultural or religious purposes. Some religions have been centered on use of particular naturally occurring drugs for hundreds of years. For example, over fifty Native American tribes use peyote, a type of cactus, as a part of their religious ceremonies. Peyote represents God to them, with Jesus acts as their intercessor between God and man, and he is also associated with peyote. To suddenly ban the use of the drugs would ruin their religion and culture which has existed since the mid-fifteenth century. As the consumption of this drug is not simply for recreational purposes, but instead for religious ones, it is less likely that it would be abused for instance compared to heroin addicts who simply use drugs to escape life. Also, being in this case that peyote is a type of cactus that grows naturally it would be somewhat difficult to regulate the use of it. These people should be allowed to be arrested if they do criminal acts while on the drugs and forbidden in the future from using it, however if they are able to prevent themselves from abusing the drug, it should be allowed. However, in this case only this drug should be permitted to be used. Other religions do not even include the use of substances, for instance the Mormon faith prohibits the use of illegal drugs or even legal stimulants or sedatives. Thus in these cases the use of illegal drugs would not even be considered. The value of a particular drug and type of usage in a religion or culture should be evaluated and if found to be greatly abused and harmful to the people, it should be forbidden. If, however, it is found to be essential and not harmful to those that participate in the religion it should be permitted. In no case, however, should any religion be permitted to do any drug they desire. This could lead to religions being created simply to be able to legally do drugs. Particular religions or cultures would need to apply to the government of wherever they are located in order to be able to use the illegal drugs. AM

No. I believe that the main purpose of religion is to worship your God or gods. Using illegal drugs as a religious ritutal is not an appropiate and legitamate excuse worship. For example, the Rastafarian religion considers the use of Cannabis as a way of life, especially when they gather as a community to worship their God. Additionally, elders of the modern religious movement known as the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church consider cannabis to be the eucharist, claiming it as an oral tradition from Ethiopia dating back to the time of Christ. The Hindu believe the God Shiva shared cannabis with people after resting in it's shade on a hot day. They drank it as a tea. And the Muslim warrior sect, the Hashasins, got their name from the hashish they would consume in preparation for battle. However, there are many other ways you can practice your religion; through meditation, music and art. People that abuse drugs during religious or cultural ceremonies are under the enviroment of drug use. This environment can contribute to the eventual addiction to the harmful drugs. People should be informed of how many people die from drug abuse: 19,102 per year, 1,591 per month, 367 per week, 52 per day, and 2 per hour. While the believers of illegal drug-using religions see drug use as a way of praise and connection, they fail to see the damaging effects whether it's physical, mental and emotional. If the drugs of abuse is illegal in the United States, there should be no exceptions just because you are part of a religion that sees it as a way of life and worship. The government will make it illegal, but it doesn't stop the use of drugs because people value their religion over the law. The people should be liable for their own mistakes and illegal actions. The government just should make it illegal so that they are not liable for any incidences related to ritual drug abuse in religions. -LM

I do not believe the use of drugs should be permitted for cultural or religious reasons. The overall negative effects that can come from taking drugs can not be outdone by the positives. Not only do drugs affect your own body, but they can impair your decisions that can affect someone else. By allowing people who religiously or culturally believe it is okay to take drugs, is just opening a doorway for any drug-user in the world to say that is there reason for using. Does that mean it is okay for everyone to be on drugs? Is that safe or responsible for the rest of society? Personally I would not feel safe if I knew everyone around me was on drugs. We might as well just legalize drug use all around. We rely on people for their own actions. Many religions believe cannabis is a way for them to worship their beliefs. But in a country where this is clearly illegal, this should not tolerated. If we legalized drugs for them the number of overdoses, addicts, and crimes commited while under the influence would all sky-rocket. People who truely believe this is part of their religion can do what they please, and deal with the consequences if they are going to live in our country. CA

I don’t feel that the use of illegal drugs should be permitted for cultural or religious purposes. Permitting religious groups the usage of illegal drugs would diminish the legalities of these substances. I can understand that some cultural groups may feel “enlightened” by taking drugs, but I do not agree with the notion that only religious and cultural groups could be permitted to use the drug. I don’t think you can limit the legality of something to one specific group. If it is legal for religious or cultural groups to use drugs, then why can’t drugs be used for medical purposes? Although this may seem sadistic, I also feel that making drugs legal would increase the production and trading of these drugs to other people not associated in religious or cultural groups. Making these drugs legal for religious and cultural purposes would only expand the illegal drug market. People using the illegal drugs during religious ceremonies could easily get addicted. They may feel that a superior being, God, is sending them messages through the LSD, Cocaine, or THC. Millions of people around the world practice a religion. People take part in religions such as Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions. If you make illegal substances legal to millions of people, then potentially millions of people could become addicted to a drug. Encouraging the usage of illegal drugs could also give these religions some popularity among the younger generation. Younger adolescents may join the religion only to abuse these permitted drugs. In short, I feel that permitting illegal substances to be used for religious and cultural purposes highly dangerous and could result in a major increase in the number of addicted drug abusers in the world. -AR

Personally, I would never participate in the use of illegal drugs when it comes to culture or religion should be practiced. However, I firmly believe that it is no one's place to decide whether a society's culture is right or wrong depending on the substances they involve in their practice. If you disagree with a culture's use of THC, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, or whatever else in religious or ceremonial events, then do not take part in it. It is not your place to judge their traditions. In response to those who believe that religious use of these substances is morally wrong, as a supporter of cultural relativism to a high extent, my opinion is that to decide how another culture should worship their God is unethical. I think many Americans are highly egocentric in this sense, and find it easy to make judgements about other cultures, which presents an aura of irony, as America is a fusion of hundreds of cultures from all over the world. As history shows, societies dedicated to their religious practices will not let the law control them, anyhow, and the vast percentages of addicts among today's population proves that illegal drugs (like those needed for some cultural events) are somewhat readily available for those who really want them. As far as legality, perhaps I am naive in thinking that if the government approves a culture's use of drugs, the issue of drugs leaking out of the religion should not be more of a problem than today's issue of illegal drugs in society. Perhaps further research should be made, but all in all I find it difficult to believe that such a culturally diverse nation can put a limit on culture. MB