Jesus says do not repay evil with violence. That includes victimless crimes like drug use, prostitution, selling raw milk, regulatory violations, broken taillights, and suspended licenses. As a Christian considering a law, if you cannot ethically carry out the action on your own or with a group of neighbors, it is morally wrong to join a vote of millions of voters to do. Law is meant to be a shield, not a sword. A shield is defensive: it protects your life from real violence—theft, fraud, assault, murder. If you saw your neighbor being assaulted or stolen from, it would be ethically permissible for you to act as a shield—to restrain the attackers, and if they resist or persist, confine them for a period of time. That means it’s ethically Christian to extend such moral defenses to the collective through the creation of laws that create criminal sanctions and prison time for violent acts.
However, if you lived in a neighborhood community unto its own, would it be ethically permissible to barge down the door of your neighbor’s house, taze them, put your knee on the back of their neck if they resist, and place them in a cage with actual violent persons for doing drugs, selling drugs to consenting adults, exchanging money for consensual sexual favors, being too stingy with their employees’ wages, or any other nonviolent vice? Of course not. So as Christians we cannot make laws that do that just that—even if we’re joined by millions of voters. Jesus taught the first stone principle—if you cannot cast the stone against a nonviolent person by yourself, it does not change if a group joins you.
Christians must lead the way out of our cultural decay caused by mass incarceration and economic regulation. These laws only serve to destroy and separate families generationally, produce fatherless children, destroy the economy, and create violent black markets.
We can understand why these violent sword-based laws create chaos by understanding Jesus’s Turn the other cheek principle for what it truly is: a social ordering principle designed to proactively defeat evil with a love of God and Neighbor. Turning the other cheek is a forward, muscular approach to vices and social decay that allows the weight of evil to collapse in on itself by not mirroring it. This principle of social order is why Jesus truly came to establish a Kingdom “on Earth as it is in Heaven.” When we find creative, nonviolent proactive solutions to vices like drug use, we imitate Jesus the way he requires of his followers.
For example, if we end prohibition of all drugs, we will experience something very similar to the end of alcohol prohibition: violent crimes will plummet. Massive profit margins for drug cartels will collapse.
Dirty drug contaminants will be regulated out of a contract-based, consumer market. Drugs will become less attractive to youth as the “hot stove syndrome” is eliminated by legalization just like the Apostle Paul refers to when the “law provokes him to sin.” The drug addicts will be brought into the light. Legalization does not mean social endorsement. Just like insisting adultery remain legal does not mean endorsement of the vice. It simply means society is applying Jesus Turning of the cheek social ordering principle in a way that makes drugs safer, less attractive, more accountable, and destroys the violent drug cartels completely. If a drug user can get product delivered to their house safely online, the drug-pushing gang member down the street will be priced out of the market. The gangs will no longer have government-created monopoly profits to fund the purchase of weapons or expensive cars and lifestyles that attract youth appeal.
It will no longer be as cool to sell drugs and so an entire cottage industry of gang-banger lifestyles will lose its greatest recruitment tool and wealth. With safer cleaner competition, it will be as financially lucrative to sell squash or lemonade as marijuana.