Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
Recently, while driving, I saw a truck with the words “Tempe Traffic Enforcement”. I thought why do we need that? After all there are traffic signals and signs, yellow and white lines on the road all indicating how we should drive. Isn’t that enough? Why do we put the force of law behind those signals and signs? And why then do we need some form of law enforcement personnel to enforce the driving rules? Can’t we just be allowed to drive and trust that it will all work out just fine?
“It doesn't work that way”, you say. Some people will abuse the system and put us all in jeopardy. Even with the rules and the enforcement of the rules and penalties and fines we still have problems. Accidents which clog up traffic, injuries which use up medical resources and of course the ever-increasing car insurance rates. Speaking of which, Arizona has one of the highest-in-the-country car insurance rates, despite traffic enforcement, which shows you how many people still abuse the driving rules even with enforcement. So no, removing traffic enforcement most likely will not make driving any better or safer or quicker.
“But, hey man, I’m an adult and I can drive as I want and don't need no laws with enforcement and penalties.” That’s pretty much the thinking that went into passing Proposition 207, which legalized marijuana for recreation use and retail sale. Why is it that stripping away all the safeguards, laws and penalties that surrounded an intoxicating substance we somehow think that “adults” wont abuse it, misuse it and cause the rest of us in jeopardy? But that is what voters did, and did it overwhelmingly, to my great disappointment.
Yes, there will be some adults who use it with discretion and responsibility. But there will be others who do not. Cannabis and cars will add to the nightmare of driving while impaired, medical resources and cost will need to be deployed, as we have already seen in Colorado to Emergency Rooms for cannabis poisoning especially among children, mental health resources will have to be stretched even more for cannabis induced psychosis and schizophrenia. Then of course there is the issue of substance abuse and all that brings to an individual, family, employment and society at large. And yes, I agree that voters are willing to accept all these consequences, but are you?
While these are all real issues the more significant issue is our thinking. Why do we think that tearing down the walls, the boundaries and safeguards that the accumulated wisdom gleaned from human experience will somehow make us freer, happier or more content? Hasn't the sexual revolution taught us anything with its massive increase in abortions, venereal diseases, sexual assaults, divorces, pornography and broken families and broken hearts? As G.K. Chesterton wisely said, “don’t take down a fence until you know why it was put up in the first place”.
The passage of Prop 207 also makes parents’ job all the more difficult. While you tell your children to avoid intoxicating substances, work to make sure they find good and safe ways to feel good about themselves, once they walk out the door society screams at them that sex and drugs are what they really need. Hard to parent when you have so little societal support for your message. Really hard.
And that’s why being part of a community, like the Church, where your values and goals are supported, encouraged and alarmed is so critical to family life today. Make no mistake, based on the way things are going in our culture we are on our own. And it will only get harder.
So, make sure to avail yourself and your family to the full spectrum of Christian living. There was a time in the not too distance past that living a Christian lifestyle was not all that challenging as the culture supported it. But that has all changed. As we move into 2021 commit yourself to living out your faith in word and deed even when it makes you swim against the tide and go against the prevailing winds of a culture that has gone to pot.
We can do it together.
Fr. John B.
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