By Mike LaSalle
The first purpose of MND has always been to explore the scope and contours of “misandry in popular culture“.
Long-time readers of this website know that misandry comes in many flavors, and that it is part of a larger complex of social ills which can be generally described as feminist postmodernism.
Thus, MND’s coverage of topics as diverse as economics, academic freedom, science, religion, and climate change propaganda all contribute to a larger understanding of the ordinary man’s place in the postmodern world.
As the publisher of MND, I have tried (though not always successfully) to keep my personal opinions and interests separate from this editorial vision. Indeed, my attitude has always been that MND is a tool for dispassionate discovery, not a soapbox for any individual contributor — most especially including myself.
But in recent days, an event has occurred that is both newsworthy and evocative of my personal outrage.
Many MND readers may have already gathered that I have no love for the so-called “war on drugs”. Nor have I used MND for the purpose of supporting my personal interest in seeing this insane “war” summarily discarded upon the ashpile of history.
But the events I am about to describe go beyond my personal feelings. This isn’t just a story about the drug war; it’s a story about liberty, the First Amendment, and the free exercise of religion.
In 2006, long-time readers may recall that I published an article entitled, “The Bicameral Universe: A Theory of Everything in One Blog Post“. I wrote the article after a flash of revelation while I was under the influence of Cannabis.
Whatever any particular person may think of my article, I wrote it as a genuine expression of opinion, having read and thought deeply about the issues of God, man, religion, science, and the Anthropic Principle for many years. The article outlines my personal understanding of God and my place as a free agent in the multiverse.
A year later, in 2007, I moved to the state of Hawai`i, where I met one Reverend Roger Christie, the founder of the Hawai`i Cannabis Ministry. On September 8, 2007, I was ordained as a Cannabis Minister in his church.
For the past 10 years, Rev. Christie has operated the Ministry openly — one might even say “loudly”. The Ministry is located on the second floor of the Moses Building on Kamahameha Ave in downtown Hilo, right across from Hilo Bay. As a matter of fact, everyone in this part of Hawai`i is entirely aware of the THC-Ministry, because of its central location and because of a large banner that has been hanging for years from the second floor window, declaring, “We Use Cannabis Religiously, And You Can Too!”
There is nothing subterranean in the way this Ministry was operated. The Ministry has existed as a transparent part of this community for many years. In fact, in 2008, Roger Christie ran for mayor of the County of Hawai`i as a Cannabis activist. I ought to know: I was a campaign advisor and webmaster. I attended campaign strategy meetings, and was present when Roger registered with the county as an official Mayoral candidate in the Summer of 2008.
Needless to say, we were not successful in getting Rev. Christie elected to the highest office in Hawai`i County, but it was sure fun to try.
Over the past two years, Rev. Christie has continued to operate the Hawai`i Cannabis Ministry openly, and the Ministry banner has continued to fly above Hilo Bay for all to see.
But on July 8, 2010, everything changed. On that day, the DEA along with a dozen other government agencies descended on the Ministry offices and arrested Reverend Christie, along with 13 members of his flock, charging them with a slew of federal drug trafficking crimes.
At this time, Reverend Christie is being held without bail in a federal detention center in Honolulu. He has been appointed a public defender, and his trial has been set for September 8, 2010.
Since the arrest, I have contacted our local chapter of the ACLU in an attempt to garner their interest in defending Rev. Christie and the other 13 members of the Ministry currently under federal indictment.
For my part, while I am a member of the Ministry and have an interest in pro-Cannabis political activism, I am not now, nor have I ever been involved in the production or distribution of Cannabis. I am an activist, a writer, a thinker. But I have no problem defending the idea that smoking Cannabis is a legitimate spiritual activity that can bring practitioners closer to God and the ultimate meanings of life.
Having said all of this, I can no longer stand idly by while my pastor — a man I know to be genuine, simple and honest — is arrested and railroaded by an out-of-control federal authority.
***UPDATE*** August 19, 2010.
In July, Roger Christie was denied bail by two federal judges in Honolulu, on the grounds that he was a “danger to the community”. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the earlier ruling.
On August 18, several hundred people gathered in downtown Hilo for a rally and march to protest Christie’s incarceration.
“Christie a pacifist who is no threat to our community is denied bail,” one man commented. ”Christie is a political prisoner. He is a threat to the war on marijuana and all its corrupt sponsors, but he is no threat to the community.”
Christie’s trial has been rescheduled to April 26, 2011. The Court has ordered that he will be held at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center without bond until trial.
Case documents are available here.