Though I condense a bit, the opponent said that people who were pro-medical marijuana were making their decisions merely from a place of compassion for those who were ill, and were ignoring potential negative medical consequences, ignoring the risks of legalizing a "drug" of this sort and ignoring the laws (at the federal level) that categorize cannabis as a schedule one drug. But I have to wonder, in a decision of this sort, what's wrong with compassion?
I get that we are a nation of laws, but not all decisions can be guided by specific rules or by religious dogma. Haven't we been trying that for the last 30 years? We've taken much of the judgement away from judges. We have tried to make religion the arbiter of the gray areas. In the process, we have filled our prisons to overflowing with people who have no reason to be there. We have made corporations into people. And now our politicians are trying to legislate the rights of women back into the 19th century. But since when should laws trump good judgment? Since when do religious rights (particularly Christian religious rights) trump individual rights? And since when do either religious dogma or the rule of law trump honest compassion?
Compassion has gotten a bad rap because it is seen as a wimpy and bleeding heart response to the ills of the world. And I will note that there is some justification for the thinking that some decisions have been made from the kind of compassion that enables dysfunctional behavior to perpetuate itself. But not all compassion arises from bleeding heart sympathy, in fact, most of it arises from love. Surely, not all love, not all compassion is based on mushy soft-hearted idealism. In fact, most compassionate decisions are based on good judgement about what is best in a specific instance; sometimes that is soft love, sometimes, tough love--both can be very compassionate responses.
What is most troubling from this minister's point of view, is that compassion is now even being removed from religion. Religion is becoming merely a set of rules that everyone must follow. Not that this hasn't been implied for a long long time, but remember, the messages of all the sages tout common sense compassion, not rules. Almost all of those we consider the Prophets urged people to follow the compassion in their hearts not merely the laws--when a law does not make sense, follow your heart to the best answer. A simple example: stoning was the LAW--let you who has not sinned cast the first stone.
Now, I am not a fan of liberal, leftist, lily-livered, wimpy, soft-hearted compassion. But neither am I a fan of conservative, right-wing, redneck, hard-hearted, thoughtless and selfish ignorance. I am a fan of common sense compassion wherein decisions are made based on careful discernment, wherein compassion is born of best interests of the situation, not dictated merely by some preconceived notion or set of rules. And even where rules are useful, never can they relate to every single situation equally.
And besides, if we remove compassion in the interest of rules, what are we left with?