Unification Sermons and Talks

Reverends Carlson

Victory Over Drugs

Paul Carlson

First Published in the Unification News in June 1992
Second Edition: January 1997

Last month we reviewed the complicated history of drugs, and their production and use. We touched on the corruption and tragedy that follow the drug trade.

Is there a drug crisis in America? You bet there is. We're surrounded by debate on what to do about it. All of us have been touched, in some personal way, by illegal drugs -or by misused legal ones. We all pay for the accidents, illnesses, crimes and other problems stemming from drug abuse.

Many people have mistaken ideas about who uses drugs. There are abusers of every age, race and income level. We think first of crack cocaine from dirty tenements, but there are also misused prescriptions from gleaming clinics. Both alcohol and nicotine are powerful, addictive legal drugs.

How is society dealing with these problems? Are the current solutions working or not?

There are efforts to cut the drug supply, through border controls and raids on drug labs and distribution places. Certainly this is worthwhile. However, the huge profits available will still motivate criminals to "find a way." The effectiveness of such "interdictment" is often indicated solely by an increase in the street price of drugs. Recently, Insight magazine ran a series of exposes about border corruption, and the tons of drugs that may be slipping through a deliberately torn barrier.

Some take to opposite tack, saying that the laws themselves are the problem, and that all drugs ought to be legalized. We won't get into the details of this fierce debate here, but we surely don't want cheap legal cocaine lying around where children might find it, as they can find alcohol in so many homes now.

Ideally, the law should hold up a standard, not be watered down for every fad or vice. That's how God's laws are, and man's ought to reflect them.

Several years back there was a Just Say No campaign. While this did reduce overall drug use, it is difficult to "get the message" to everyone. Meantime, drug dealers have started using modern marketing techniques to gain new customers. Many religious leaders have realized that one must also "say yes" to something positive, which is the reason behind the success of several well-known street ministries, both Christian and Muslim.


 We must understand the attractiveness of drugs. There is a real "forbidden fruit" factor, in that the very illegality of drugs makes them attractive to many rebellious young people.

Inner-city kids, especially those from broken homes, are attracted by the "easy money" in drugs, and the flashy lifestyle of the dealers they see.

Some adults have openly advocated drug use, and written glowingly of their alleged experiences. Back in the sixties, Timothy Leary single-handedly popularized LSD, saying it would expand one's mind. Yet, his friend Richard Alpert (now Ram Dass) was later to write: "No matter how high we got, we'd always come down in the morning-and fight about who was going to do the dishes."

Carlos Castenada wrote several bestsellers about peyote-munching, spiritually open Mexican Indians. But he barely mentions that the datura, loco weed, etc., they were supposedly swallowing are in fact rather poisonous.

British writer Aldous Huxley wrote of the "profound experiences" he had trying LSD. However, this calm, secure, educated fellow never watched a semi-literate school dropout having a "bad trip," and nearly drowning himself, as your author has.

Reality Check

People must understand that there is no future in drugs, for themselves or anyone. Certainly, no real skills are involved in dealing them-and no pension plans. More likely: a violent and early death.

Drug users generally share a distinctive attitude. They'll say: "It's my body and my life! Don't tell me how to live it!" They will belittle the dangers involved. Some want "the high" so much they will ignore anything else, even their own children.

These selfish drug users must understand that they are part of a larger whole. They are pulling down their families, jobs, society and nation. Every dollar they spend is "soaked in blood." It funds the violence in their own neighborhoods, in Columbia and Southeast Asia, and all along the way here. They must realize that America is their home, and the hope of the world-and that many who flood this country with drugs actually plan to ruin it.

You may not believe this, but there are scientists who claim that the fight against drugs is useless, even pointless and wrong. They claim that humankind has a "fourth desire" built in, after those for food, shelter and sex. A desire for "alternate consciousness," which means, "wants to get blasted." (Read Intoxication by Ronald K. Siegel.) Another man claims, half-seriously, that "beer was the cause of civilization." That people settled down at the riverbanks to grow grain for the mash.

Siegel describes the use of natural intoxicants by many animal species. In this regard, note that: a) wild animals have somewhat limited entertainment options, and b) the Fall affected the entire creation, not just people.

Remember the classic velvet painting of "dogs playing pool?" Hmm, how about opossums hang gliding, or chickens playing Nintendo?

These otherwise intelligent scientists know even less about people than did the fourth century Christian writer, St. Augustine of Hippo. He wrote: "We are made for Thee, and our hearts are restless until we rest in Thee." Religious people know a little secret: that long before the dawn of secular history, there was a Fall of Man. We spurned God and, as He then said: "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children."

Inner Pain

Ever since the Fall, people have lived with a kind of pain they don't understand; an inner or heartistic pain. Psychologists have made good efforts at studying this. Religious people know that Original Sin is passed down through the generations. Secular experts now realize that many terrible behaviors, such as alcoholism and child abuse, are usually passed down within families. Also, certain "subcultures" pass down behaviors like drug abuse.

This fallen world, and our own fallen natures, lead us to such pain that we seek to "drown it" in countless ways. Modern chemistry has provided us with some very powerful agents to use in this quest. Of course, these cannot really work-that is, to solve our problems. Hopefully, people will realize this before things have gone too far. It has been said that even satan has no use for a zonked-out druggie.

Clearly, the real "fourth desire" is the desire for True Love. It simply the fulfillment of God's intentions for us, as we've learned from religion, especially from the Divine Principle. There we learn of the true source of joy, of the Three Blessings, and of an unfolding Providence of God that we can be a part of.

Does this seem too simple? It isn't! Unselfish love fills hearts, and far outshines any transient thrill that drugs might provide. Rev. Moon speaks eloquently of "swimming in a pool of True Love."

Through a series of recent campaigns, we Unificationists have come into contact with the real heroes of the war on drugs. The people out on the streets with the kids, the gangs and the gun-toting dealers. People making amazing efforts in the face of huge, and often growing, problems. All over America, Unificationists are wondering, "What can we offer; how can we help?"

In 1978, in response to then-Sen. Bob Dole's "cult menace" hearings, we put together a rather amazing "before and after" photo album of our members. Obviously, we'd managed to covert and clean up some rather unusual characters. But our numbers were small, and not everyone was "seeking" something profound, as most of our converts had been.

During 1983-84 we fielded dozens of IOWC teams, "street witnessing" in cities all across America. Naturally we came into contact with a great many people, and a portion of them were "street kids." We learned, the hard way, that it was very difficult for such kids to take on the burdens normally shouldered by our full-time members. Some tried, a few succeeded.

New Image

We can make an important contribution here. Although relatively few young people have managed to become full-time members, the course we've followed in Russia points the way. Statistically, religious youth of any flavor are far less likely to get into trouble. Gaining even the most basic grasp of Divine Principle can make a great difference in their lives.

Young people can gain a new "self image." Forget psychobabble phrases like "self esteem." Studies have found that young punks have, if anything, too much of that heavily-promoted commodity. As an older generation puts it, these cocky kids "think they've sprouted wings."

We do need a God-centered sense of personal value. Like the poster says: "I know I'm something, 'cause God don't make no junk!" People who perceive no bright future are quite willing to ruin their solitary -and deeply lonely- selves. They'll be less likely to wreck what God Himself has provided for them.

The only real solution to the drug crisis is to end the demand. Dealers would be out of work, and there would be very much less trouble.

In Russia, people are making big changes in their lives after hearing a brief, five-day Principle workshop. Including folks who had been lifelong atheists, even combative marxists.

America has made it illegal to read a Bible in school, while in the C.I.S. they now encourage it. (The Koran, too.) Many of their schools, at all levels, are using Principle-based textbooks. And some still wonder how our society got to be so violent, so drug-soaked . . .

We share big ideas and big hopes. This country can be "liberated" as completely as the Soviet Union was. I hope that everyone can get involved, as much as they are able. We live in special times, and there is much to do!

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