Article by Richard Cowan
Back in 2006, when Steven Colbert was still doing his character who just let politicians make fools of themselves, easy job, his guest was then Georgia Republican Congressman, Lynn Westmoreland, who wanted to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in the Capitol Rotunda. So, of course, Colbert asked him to name them. So, of course, he could name only three. Embarrassing for a self-proclaimed Baptist.
Stop now, before you laugh, and see how many you can name.
In this context, the only Commandment I’m focused on is the one that says, “THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS”. That is the one Commandment that politicians have to confront every day in their jobs. And usually fail.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is a fanatical prohibitionist, and seems to be heavily into Reefer Madness. And since he is Roman Catholic, I will use the Rosary Center text by Father Reginald Martin, O.P. as my source.
Father Martin points out, “Our Catechism observes, ‘The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness; they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.”
Father Martin also says, “We need not enter a courtroom, nor even speak aloud, to see the damaging effects of lying. Any act that destroys another’s reputation violates the eighth commandment. Such actions include rash judgment, which assumes – without proof – someone has done wrong, detraction, which is telling the faults of another to those who have no reason to know the information, calumny, which is lying about another, and causing others to form false negative opinions of the individual.”
My point of concern, as noted, is Governor Rickett’s repeated and increasingly extreme claims about marijuana. Lying about a substance, or lying about anything, may be more or less morally wrong, depending on its impact on others. When a Governor lies about public policy and criminal law, it demonstrably impacts others negatively.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) spoke out at a press conference against legislation that would legalize medical marijuana, saying it will "kill your kids."
I, and the overwhelming majority of Americans, support not only the legalization of medical marijuana, but “recreational” marijuana as well.
So, in effect, the Governor is libeling the overwhelming majority of his fellow Americans. And it is not a close call factually. There is NO EVIDENCE that supports his bizarre claim that legalizing medical or recreational marijuana “will kill your kids”
I would love to debate him on the subject. It would be fun, but for his sake, I hope he will give thought about the importance of the truth.
Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and author of The Ultimate Guide On: How To Use CBD And Its Dosages?