Catholic Free Press

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  • Oct
  • 31

Faith leaders urge voters to reject marijuana legislation

Posted By October 31, 2016 | 4:34 pm | Featured Article #2
Marijuana plants.

 (CNS photo/David McNew, Reuters)
Marijuana plants. (CNS photo/David McNew, Reuters)

Faith leaders across denominations and traditions sign statement urging NO vote on Question 4 and reject marijuana legalization.

The following statement has been released on behalf 132 faith leaders in the Commonwealth in opposition to Question 4/marijuana legalization on the Nov. 8 ballot. The statement was sent by by the Archdiocese of Boston.

Statement:
As faith leaders across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we urge all citizens to vote NO on Question 4 on Election Day, November 8th.

In the midst of an opioid epidemic, it is beyond reason that the Commonwealth would commercialize the sale of marijuana.   It is important for our citizens to know the facts: this legislation was written by and for the billion-dollar marijuana industry.  Ninety-six percent of the money supporting this proposal comes from out of state. If passed, the law would make it significantly difficult for local communities to try to opt out.  It would authorize companies from outside of Massachusetts to legally sell marijuana that is 10 to 600 times more potent than that of past decades. We believe this will lead to greater addiction particularly for young people.  For the sake of our children and grandchildren, let us not expose them to the unnecessary danger of shops selling packaged edible forms of marijuana including candy.

It is important to recognize that Massachusetts has already decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, so concerns about people being arrested for possession do not apply to this proposed law.  Nor is there a rationale in tax revenues.

First, there is no amount of money that would justify the dangers of commercializing marijuana.  Second, the expense of regulating it and funding the public safety and medical response to accidents and overdoses would far exceed the supposed tax revenue.  Lastly, the cost and the grief to families from marijuana-related abuse is incalculable.  An example is the tragic death of Massachusetts State Trooper Thomas Clardy earlier this year.   The person charged with that motor vehicle fatality is alleged to have used marijuana before driving that day.

As faith leaders, we believe that our efforts as a society should be focused toward improving life for our citizens. A culture that encourages and promotes the use of drugs is failing its people.  As the neighborhood pastors who tend your houses of worship, streets and hospital bedsides, who live in and know our local communities, we have seen the struggle with addiction and we have grieved with our people at the funerals. Each of us can recount the tragic stories of people whose drug addiction began with marijuana.

Question 4, if approved, will generate substantial profit for out-of-state drug marketers at the expense of the health, well-being and the lives of our families and loved ones. Please join us in voting NO on Question 4, for the good of our Commonwealth and our people.

Signed:

1    Mr. Ramin  Abrishamian, Needham Baha’i Community
2    Rev. Gary Adams, Morningstar Baptist Church, BPD Chaplain
3    Very Rev. Nicholas Apostola, Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America
4    Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal, Islamic Council of New England
5    I.C.C. Chair  Naim Assil, Islamic Council of New England
6    Msgr. Andon Atamian, Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church
7    Dir. Dale Atlas, John 17:23 Ministries
8    Rev. Archpriest Antranig Baljian, St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church
9    Rev. Theodore Barbas, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
10    Rev. Paul Bebis, Holy Trinity Church
11    Rev. Vassilios Bebis, St. Nectarios Church
12    Pres. Andrew Beckwith, Massachusetts Family Institute
13    Fr. William Bergmann, Church of the Good Shepherd
14    Fr. Thomas F. Bouton, Saint Ambrose Rectory
15    Mr. Scott Brill, Institute for Christian Unity
16    Pastor Randy Cahill, Calvary Chapel, Rockland
17    Rev. Constantine Cambus, Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church
18    Pastor  Esteban Carrasco, House of Destiny
19    Rev. George Carrigg, St. Christopher Church
20    Fr. Mark Cherubim, Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Mark
21    Rev. Thomas Chininis, Transfiguration of Our Saviour Church
22    Rev. Gregory Christakos, Sts. Anargyroi Church
23    Rev.  Brian Clary, St. Mary Church
24    Rev. Frank Cloherty, Catholic Collaborative of Lynn
25    Rev. Thomas Cokotis, Holy Trinity Church
26    Dir. Jacqueline Colon, Iglesia La Luz de Christo, Chelsea
27    Very Rev. Panteleimon Costarakis, St. John the Baptist Church
28    Rev. Demetrios Costarakis, St. Nicholas Church
29    Rev. Matt Crane, Institute for Christian Unity
30    Dcn. Michael Curren, St. Augustine Church
31    Most Rev. Edgar M. da Cunha, SVD, Roman Catholic Bishop of Fall River
32    Pastor  Edmund C. de la Cour, First Baptist Church of Pocasset
33    Rev. Bob Dibbs, Evangelical Pastor
34    Pastor Chris DiGiacomo, Lifeline Baptist Church, Haverhill
35    Dr. Dris Djermoun, Ph.D., President, Islamic Council of New England
36    Pastor Neil Eaton, New Hope Chapel
37    Pastor Kenneth Ebersole, East Gate Christian Fellowship
38    Msgr. Georges El-Khalli, Ph.D., Our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon Church
39    Rev. Anthony Evangelatos, Annunciation Church
40    Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, Mosque for the Praising of Allah
41    Dcn. Michael Fadel, St. Vasilios Church
42    Shaykh Yasir Fahmy, Senior Imam, Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center
43    Rev. Ben Feldott, Cape Cod Church
44    Pastor Fred Ferreira, 3rd Baptist Church
45    Very Rev. James Flavin, Episcopal Vicar, Central Region, RCAB
46    Rev. Carlos Flor, St. Thomas, St. Mary, and Lourdes Church
47    Rev. Janice Ford, Rector, The Episcopal Church of the Reconciliation
48    Rev. Christopher Foustoukos, St. Vasilios Church
49    Rev. Evangelos Georgiadis, St. Demetrios Church
50    Rev. Arthur Gerald, Twelfth Baptist Church
51    Rev. Asterios Gerostergios, Sts. Constantine and Helen Church
52    Rev. Panagiotis Giannakopoulos, St. George Church
53    Rev. Dr. Dennis Gill, E-Net Evangelical Network of New England
54    Rev. John Govostes, Assumption Church
55    Pastor  DaQuall Graham, Full Deliverance Church, Lowell
56    Pastor  Paul E. Gramit, Ev. Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS-UAC)
57    Pastor  Nicholas G. Granitsas, First Congregational Church, Revere
58    Bishop Brian Greene, Pentecostal Tabernacle, Cambridge
59    Pastor  Ronald Grimley, Abundant Life Church, Wilmington
60    Mr. Richard Guerriero, Knights of Columbus
61    Pastor Arlene O. Hall, Deliverance Temple Worship Center
62    Dcn. Charles Hall, St. John the Baptist Church, Peabody
63    Fr. Samuel Hanna, Priest,  St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, Natick
64    Pastor  David R. Hill, Abundant Grace Church of Boston, Brighton
65    Chaplain Sherami Hinders, Evangelical Campus Ministries
66    Rev. Dr. Paul Jehle, The New Testament Church of Cedarville
67    Fr. Mina Kaddis, Sts. Paul and John Chrysostom Coptic Churches
68    Rev. Nicholas Kastanas, St. Athanasius the Great Church
69    Msgr. Frank Kelley, Sacred Heart Church
70    Ms. Verna Khantzian, Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church
71    Dr. Nabil Khudairy, Executive Director, Islamic Council of New England
72    Fr. John G. Kiley, St. Anne Church
73    Rabbi Yossi Kivman, Chabad Jewish Center of Mansfield
74    Rev. Panteleimon Klostri, St. Luke Church
75    Grand Rabbi Y.A. Korff, zvhil-Mezbuz Rebbe, Chaplain of the City of Boston
76    Rev. Dionysios Koulianos, St. Catherine Church
77    Rev. Mirek Kowalczyk, FDP, St. Joseph – St. Lazarus Church
78    Deacon John Koza, St. Mary of the Annunciation Church
79    Rev. Nicholas Krommydas, St. Demetrios Church
80    Dir. Michael King, Massachusetts Family Institute
81    Dir. Maryellen MacAdam, New Life Community Church
82    Imam Taalib Mahdee, Masjid al-Qur’aan
83    Rev. John Maheras, St. George Church
84    Rev. Christopher Makiej, Sts. Constantine and Helen Church
85    Rev. Konstatinos Manetas, Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church
86    Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester
87    Metropolitan Methodios, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
88    Rev. David Michael, St. Joseph Church
89    Rev. Kris Mineau, Massachusetts Family Institute
90    Pastor Paul Minor, All Saints’ Church
91    Rev. Vincent Minucci, St. Demetrios Church
92    Rev. Dr. Roberto Miranda, Congregacion Leon de Juda
93    Rev. Dimitrios Moraitis, St. Spyridon Cathedral
94    Pastor Gary Moritz, Twin City Baptist Temple
95    Rev. Demetre Mott, Annunciation Church
96    Rev. John G. Mulvihill, First Baptist Church
97    Rev. Athanasios Nenes, Taxiarchae Church
98    Very Rev. Makarios Niakaros, Holy Apostles/St.s Peter and Paul Church
99    Dr. Vito Nicastro, Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
100    Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Boston
101    Mr. Paul G O’Sullivan, Knights of Columbus
102    Pastor Roy Owens, Baptist Church
103    Rev. Nikolaos Pelekoudas, Holy Trinity Church
104    Pastor  Marc Peña Grace, Baptist Church
105    Rev. Ephraim Peters, St.s Constantine and Helen Church
106    Pastor John Pfeffer, Faith Community Church, Seekonk
107    Rev. Costin Popescu, Annunciation Church
108    Rev. Harry Providakes, St. George Church
109    Pastor George Ray, Trinity Evangelical Church, North Reading
110    Pastor Sean Richmond, The River Church
111    Rev. Peter Rizos, St. George Church
112    Very Rev. James J. Ronan, VF, St. Mary- St. Catherine of Siena Church
113    Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield
114    Rev. Thomas Ryan, CSP, The Paulist Center
115    Bishop Nicholas Samra, Eparchial Bishop of Newton  Melkite Church USA
116    Rev. Mark Scott, Associate Pastor, Azusa Christian Community
117    Fr. Christopher H. Stamas, St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Springfield
118    Rev. Charles Sutton, All Saints Anglican Church
119    Rev. Anthony Tandilyan, St. Vasilios Church
120    Pastor James Thomasson, Meetinghouse Baptist Church, Middleborough
121    Rev. Demetrios Tonias, Annunciation Cathedral
122    Rev. Theodore Toppses, St. Gregory the Theologian Church
123    Rev. George Tsoukalas, St. George Church
124    Exec. Dir. Yusufi Vali, Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center
125    Rev. Luke Veronis, Sts. Constantine and Helen Church
126    Rev. Harry Vulopas, St. George Church
127    Rev. Aaron Walker, St. Athanasius the Great Church
128    Rabbi H. David Werb, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Beth Emunah
129    Fr. Richard Wilson, Sts. John and Vincent Churches
130    Rev. Dr. David Wright, Executive Director, Black Ministerial Alliance
131    Rev. Basil Yarde, Final Thrust Kingdom Community
132    Rev. Dr. Mark Yoon, Boston University Chaplain for Evangelical Students