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Pat Robertson's marijuana remarks cause stir
December 23rd, 2010
04:15 PM ET

Pat Robertson's marijuana remarks cause stir

By Alan Silverleib, CNN

The Rev. Pat Robertson - a longtime fixture in Christian conservative politics - is drawing attention for questioning an article of faith among many Republicans: mandatory prison sentences for certain marijuana-related crimes.

Some pot legalization advocates noted that Robertson also appeared to question the criminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana - a position later denied in a written statement released by his media outlet, the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"It got to be a big deal in campaigns," Robertson said on the December 16 edition of his show "The 700 Club." "Lock 'em up, you know. That's the way these guys ran, and they got elected. But that wasn't the answer."

Robertson said there is "something else we've got to recognize. We're locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana and the next thing they know they've got 10 years. They've got mandatory sentences and these judges just ... throw up their hands and say there's nothing we can do."

"We've got to take a look at what we're considering crimes and that's one of them," Robertson added. "I'm not exactly for the use of drugs. Don't get me wrong. But I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot and that kind of thing, it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people."

They go into prison "as youths and they come out as hardened criminals, and that's not a good thing."

Chris Roslan, a CBN spokesman, insisted Thursday that Robertson "did not call for the decriminalization of marijuana. He was advocating that our government revisit the severity of the existing laws because mandatory drug sentences do harm to many young people who go to prison and come out as hardened criminals."

The famous television pastor "was also pointing out that these mandatory sentences needlessly cost our government millions of dollars when there are better approaches available. ... Dr. Robertson unequivocally stated that he is against the use of illegal drugs."

Roslan noted that Robertson's remarks followed a CBN story about the value of faith-based prisoner rehabilitation programs.

Robertson, who has made a number of controversial statements in the past, used his television presence to become a major power broker in GOP politics for a period of time. He ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, stunning observers by finishing ahead of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in that year's Iowa caucuses.

Most conservative officeholders continue to back both strong anti-drug laws and mandatory prison sentences for certain crimes. Some, however, have questioned the value of such stances, particularly in the wake of rising prison populations and expenses.

Some conservative libertarians - such as former New Mexico GOP Gov. Gary Johnson - have called for the legalization of marijuana.

A ballot initiative in California this year would have allowed adult possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure was defeated by a 54-to-46 ratio.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Politics • TV

soundoff (511 Responses)
  1. TLIONS35

    This is the first time ever, I actually agreed with what this man said. I had to close my mouth with my hands after my chin hit the floor! Shocking.

    December 23, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  2. BigWorm

    Have you guys ever watched the 700 Club? Biggest scam i've ever seen in my life. This guy preys on the poor and suffering people of the world and lead them to believe that if they send him a check, then thier lives will dramaticly become happy and thier suffering will end. What a load of crap! On the other hand, i do aggree with is view on pot!

    December 23, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      And where does all that money really go?

      One race horse: $520,000.00
      Liberian gold mine: $8,000,000.00
      African diamond mine: Millions
      Scamming the tragically stupid: PRICELESS!

      December 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  3. lmfreels

    time to go get baked. happy holidays everyone!

    December 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • smrtcookie

      baaahahaha love it

      December 23, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  4. Corbijn

    Wasn't he behind all these imposed sentences during the Regan administration? He's going to have to say or do something really, really dumb to make up for these remarks.

    December 23, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  5. Kudu

    SOMEONE SLAP ME!!! I actually found myself agreeing with that moron! I need to start getting more sleep!

    December 23, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  6. Billy

    With that huge grin, it's obvious he's been sampling the medicinal marijuana brownie jar.

    December 23, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  7. EuphoriCrest

    Let's have a mandatory sentence for Robertson's defense of Chuck Taylor (who supported Al Qaeda) in exchange for gold mine contracts.
    And more mandatory sentences for his collusion with Mobutu Sese Seto for diamond mine investments and Robertson's use of "Operation Blessing" planes to transport mining equipment. Every time he gets caught he just pays off more of cronies like the Virgina AG.

    December 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  8. Joseph E. Brown

    You mean people are still listening to this fool?!

    December 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
    • Marcus in Greensboro, NC

      LOL I know right! I'm just shocked agree with him for once.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • Phil

      I can't believe im listening to you , must be that last drag.

      December 24, 2010 at 6:00 am |
  9. 420politician

    this man knows what he's talking about. We have young people that take a couple puffs of a joint and are locked up for 10-15 years and come out as hardened criminals. because of that there future is ruined of any job or anything. marijuana should be legalized to and extant. possessing or intent to sell is illegal but smoking marijuana is not. you can own up to less than ounce and just get a ticket but and ounce or more and your doing jail time. the government can be using the money for locking up these people for other things but no we pay billions to feed and care for them as prisoners. if we legalize it we can earn up to 2 billion in dollars plus taxes!!! but no than ks to a certain man in the drug enforcing offices (Harry J. Anslinger), it was and to some people a narcotic and brainwashed people to think so too. vote yes on prop 19.

    December 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  10. Marcus in Greensboro, NC

    I agree with him that it's a waste of money. A jury in Montana recently refused to prosecute a man that was arrested for a small amount of marijuana. The public knows that chasing this drug is costing way too much money, and that it is not as harmful as tobacco or alcohol. It's few times that I can say that Pat Robertson and I are on the same side of an issue. Maybe these other lawmakers need to start seeing that this issue is crossing political, religious, and racial divides. We, the people, are not having a big issue with marijuana and they are the ones who are still pushing this issue. It's time to at least make it available for medicinal use nationally, because no one cares. I could see more juries doing what the one in Montana did and refuse to prosecute someone for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    December 23, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  11. Dorothea7

    Pat Robertson said something sensible???? Are they SURE it was Robertson who actually said that? I can't believe Robertson actually said something that anybody with a lick of sense could agree with! Like me, for instance!

    December 23, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  12. Dennis

    Listen to the man, he knows the opiate for the masses.

    December 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  13. travis

    Wow he might not be such a nut after all!

    December 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
    • Cozmicturtle

      Don't be fooled...

      December 23, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  14. Grob Hahn

    It amazes me how many people seem to think this is somehow a right wing issue. Consider that BOTH parties deal with pot in the same way, by locking up Americans. Neither party has budged in decades. Ask anyone really connected with the legalization movement which party is responsible for this American nightmare. Robertson is just the latest in a long line of old timers who suddenly realize that ruining the lives of people for generations over pot does not accomplish anything worthy. He even confirms that the issue is just a convenient political tugging point. I think enough American families have had pot laws slap them around by now for a much larger cross section of America is starting to ask why. 40 years ago pot could get you arrested, but it didn't disqualify you from college loans the way it does today. What was once a youthful indiscretion is now a life changing event. And not because of the pot, but because of the pot laws. If the law is worse than the pot, doesn't it seem like logic would prevail? Not in politics it seems. American lives are trashed for the sake of winning an election. Amazing!
    Grobbbbbbbbb

    December 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
    • Cozmicturtle

      Very well said!

      December 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
    • Matt

      California decriminalized pot statewide. It is no longer a jail able offense to possess pot. It is a $100 infraction at the most, but most cops won't even bother anymore depending on what city you're in. Also, Arizona legalized medical pot, as has Colorado, in addition to New York, California, Washington, Hawaii, etc. You're right in saying that this isn't a partisan issue, although the primary opponents to legalization do tend to be GOP. However as I stated, California – rather Schwarzenegger, took the GOP stance that it doesn't make financial sense to prosecute users because the state makes no money off prosecuting a $100 ticket as a misdemeanor, given that those offenses would go to trial, and cost thousands of dollars per case. The liberal view is that pot is no more (in fact it is way less) dangerous for your body than alcohol, or cigarettes (the only two legal and regulated recreational drugs in the US). It makes financial sense, moral sense, and medical sense to let people choose whether or not to smoke pot. Prohibition doesnt work and people are starting to realize that.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
    • smrtcookie

      Agreed. Well said my friend.

      December 23, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  15. GCM

    Now that photo is a ****-eating grin if I ever saw one! My lord...

    December 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
    • DEADRAVER

      He's clearly stoned in that photograph.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  16. Lefty

    Where does he stand on gay people smoking pot?

    December 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  17. Pointless1

    It's nice to see people with their head up their A$$es most of the time come up for some air once in awhile.......

    December 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  18. Cozmicturtle

    So will the 700 Club now be known as the 420 Club? This is the first time that I've ever heard any sort of common sense come out of this mans mouth!

    December 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  19. Frank

    Wow, I have to say, this is the first time ever I have agreed with this man.

    Did he fall and bump his head or something? Before he recovers, maybe
    he can say a few other intelligent things.

    I won't hold my breath................

    December 23, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
    • Cozmicturtle

      No head bumps, he just smoked a joint and realized that people make too big of a fuss about weed!

      December 23, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  20. Reality

    Saving Pat R from himself and from us: (reiteration is at the heart of learning)

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists).

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    December 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • Cozmicturtle

      These aren't facts but writings taken from a "story" called the bible. The bible contains opinions of how people of that time perceived Christ and the events surrounding his life. You may be able to prove that some of these individuals existed but you cannot prove anything further...

      December 23, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • jeff

      Good job! I think you have the Ctrl+X, Ctrl+V thingy learned already, but keep practicing so you can stay sharp!

      December 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
    • La

      Could you please not use this opportunity to speak your opinion on tangential subjects? We have an ongoing discussion about crimminalizatin of social choices and this is not that space for your theories on God, or Christ, or any other thing. Thank you for respecting our conversation.

      December 24, 2010 at 10:42 am |
    • jonathan

      Jesus is risen from the dead and he declared there would be false apostles many in fact..Christ provides evidence to them who truly believe... 🙂

      December 24, 2010 at 11:35 am |
    • Paul

      "Reality" I'm not sure what your Catholic babel has got to do with this particular story? Can you dum it down for me a little. I have not had my bowl of bud yet today! LOL

      December 24, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Reality

      By educating P. Robertson, we save ourselves from listening to his babel on social choices now and in the future.

      December 26, 2010 at 11:19 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.