On Jeanne Bishop’s Book “Change of Heart”

rforan8 Clemency

By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp 

ChangeofHeartWhen writer and move director Nora Ephron offered advice to aspiring authors, she would often say, “Voice, voice, more voice.” What she meant was that good writers must be authentic. They must be honest. They must eliminate the distance between head and heart. In her recently published book, Change of Heart, Jeanne Bishop is so authentic it takes your breath away.

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Answering The Call

rforan8 Guest Pieces, Opinion

Today’s guest blogger is Bill Fried, Director of Programs and Financial Administration for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition [LEAP]. At LEAP, Bill creates and oversees such programs as Cops and Clergy; he also has extensive experience in the non-profit field and his opinion pieces have appeared in the Boston Globe and on National Public Radio.

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A Personal Note

rforan8 Diversion, Harm Reduction, Opinion

By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp

Al SharpAs we launch the website for Clergy for a New Drug Policy, perhaps I might be permitted a personal note. What do we intend with this project? Why do we think it is necessary?

The main purpose would seem to end the so-called War on Drugs. We have spent over $1 trillion since 1970 to fight a failed war that has turned us into a prisoner nation, divided us by race, and failed to reduce drug use or availability.  So, yes, ending the War on Drugs is what we are about.

But there is a more fundamental purpose. We need to transform the culture of punishment that has afflicted our nation since its earliest days. Read More

Decriminalizing Marijuana in Illinois

rforan8 Decriminalization, IL, State

By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp, CNDP Director 

Illinois State Capitol Uploaded by AlbertHerring [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Illinois State Capitol Uploaded by AlbertHerring [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The leaders of the Community Renewal Society (CRS) have just voted to support legislation to decriminalize marijuana in Illinois this year. There are two reasons why this is significant. First, CRS is one of the most powerful faith-based organizations in Illinois and a growing presence in the state capital. CRS support will really matter.

Second, the CRS decision tells us that current drug policy is clearly seen as a failure, even where it is most visible, namely in communities of color. Many congregations which support CRS are located in Chicago neighborhoods burdened by poverty and violence. Everyday residents see how drugs have devastated their communities. Drug use breeds violence, destroys families, and ruins individual lives. So why decriminalize marijuana? More broadly, why should one ever support a policy that seems to condone drug use?

There are several key points.

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Vox.com Card Stack Offers Context for War on Drugs

rforan8 Uncategorized

Vox.comCardStackVox.com, the sixth brand of Vox Media, launched in 2014 as “a general interest news site for the 21st century.” With the goal of providing context for the news, Vox.com has created several “Card Stacks” on topics ranging from marijuana legalization to vaccines to the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby. The swipeable Stacks consistent of around 20 cards, each which provide background information on the featured topic in an accessible and understandable way.Read More