Larry Mantle |

Sheriff Baca's moral argument against marijuana legalization

During our "AirTalk" town hall on the November marijuana legalization initiative, Sheriff Baca argued that the human body is such a precious creation that we shouldn't do anything to encourage its pollution with non-medically necessary substances. One of our live audience members said he was offended, as an atheist, by the Sheriff's commingling of his religious values with a matter of public policy. The listener thought it intruded on the separation between church and state.

I took strong issue with the audience member's criticism of Baca. I think it's absolutely fair game to go after the Sheriff's argument as weak and to take issue with his values intruding into the lives of people who don't see marijuana through such a moral prism. However, I appreciate the fact that Sheriff Baca was honest about his anti-legalization view extending from his religious beliefs. I'd rather have an elected official be open and honest about it than denying that his belief system has an effect on his policy opinions.

What do you think? Is it wrong for a public official to argue from a religious or spiritual perspective?