Hiding Behind Jesus (Take 2)
Posted on Tuesday, August 9th
It’s been reported that Governor Mike Pence did a lot of praying trying to figure out how God felt about keeping vital harm reduction centers open in Indiana. Such centers supply clean needles to contain HIV and guide drug addicts into meaningful recovery programs. Health officials were begging for help to contain a surge of drug users with HIV through out the state.
Pence may have prayed, but I’ll wager he was consulting the gods of politics, urging the Lord to contain political damage with his religious base, for doing the right thing.
As a public service I’ve pulled together a handy document that gives craven politicians one source to Jesus and Science. Perhaps someday they’ll come around and finally accept that drug abuse is a public health issue, not a moral issue to be managed with punishment.
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14
“Individuals in areas with needle exchange programs have an increased likelihood of entering drug treatment programs.” National Institutes of Health.
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” Matthew 9:45
“A meticulous scientific review has now proven that needle exchange programs can reduce the transmission of HIV and save lives without losing ground in the battle against illegal drugs.” Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services.
“ Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. Jeremiah 33:6
“The Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, has determined that a demonstration needle exchange program would be effective in reducing drug abuse and the risk of infection with the etiologic agent for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
US Surgeon General’s Determination of Effectiveness of Syringe Exchange Programs, 2011
“The Lord sustains him on his sickbed: in his illness you restore him to full health.” Psalm 41:3
More than 8,200 people died from heroin-related overdoses in 2013 — nearly quadruple the amount reported in 2002. We’ve seen heroin and all the public health risks that go along with it before, and we’ve seen it withstand harsh drug laws and public condemnation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
“Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” Luke 10:8-9
The WHO says needle exchanges are integral to addiction recovery, pointing specifically to how needle and syringe-exchange programs “involving face-to-face contacts have helped reduce the “rate of HIV infection among injection drug users, including an increase in recruitment into drug-dependence treatment and primary care services.”
Dr. Ellen Tuchman, an associate professor of social work at New York University
“Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed everyone.” Acts 10:38
“Addiction is the underlying cause of the heroin epidemic, and punishment is rarely an effective cure.” Tuchman
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” John 5:14-15
“Most people who come in asking for help are not ready to go from using drugs for more than 20 years to just stopping,” she said. “Harm reduction’s eventual goal is abstinence. We would love that. But that’s not the goal when people come in — we start with ‘what does this person need, what do they want right now?’ Do they want clean syringes, do they want housing, do they want clothes, do they want food?” Tuchman
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8
“You have to be able to sit with someone who is continuing to use drugs, and still work with them, still help them. And that’s hard for some people.” Tuchman