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Inside the Beltway: Pot’s not a Christian thing

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Legalize it? A majority of Christians say no to recreational pot," reports the Barna Group, an independent research organization that also polled opinions on the moral aspect of weed, its legalization and the burgeoning new lifestyle that is emerging in some states where laws have been relaxed.

"In contrast to the widening cultural mainstream, most practicing Christians oppose legalization. Even mainline Protestants, who often trend more liberal on social issues than their Catholic and non-mainline brethren, are less likely (45 percent) than the national average to say pot should be legal in the U.S." the Barna poll reports.

"Non-mainline Protestants (32 percent) and Catholics (39 percent) are far less likely to favor legalization than the general American population."

Oh, and about the moral aspects.

"While the majority of Americans think smoking pot should be legal, most still say it's not OK to use it. Less than half of all adults (47 percent) believe it's morally acceptable to smoke marijuana for recreational use," the researchers say.

"This is most pronounced among practicing Christians, particularly non-mainline Protestants: Fewer than one in seven (13 percent) say it is acceptable to use marijuana for recreation. Mainline Protestants (40 percent) and Catholics (33 percent) are also less likely than the average to say recreational weed is acceptable."

The survey of 1,024 U.S. adults was conducted January 28 to February 5, and released Tuesday.

ANOTHER WEDNESDAY, ANOTHER FUNDRAISER

Yes, fire up Air Force One again. President Obama has tucked a couple of Democratic Party fundraisers into an overnight trip to New York City on Wednesday. Less than a week ago, Mr. Obama was on the West Coast for five fundraisers, but no matter. This time up, he'll first visit the mighty Tappan Zee Bridge that spans the Hudson River north of Manhattan with first lady Michelle; the bridge itself will be decommissioned in 2016, with a $4 billion replacement planned. Naturally, Mr. Obama is set to deliver a speech on major infrastructure projects that could better the economy — which sounds a little like the old economic stimulus plan of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Then it's on to a pair of fundraisers: one in a towering hotel in Midtown and the other, full of Manhattan flair, staged in the fabulous two-story, Upper East Side condominium of investment bank heavyweight Blair W. Effron. The grand abode was created from several units, including one that once belonged to manners maven Emily Post. There's a reception, a dinner and tickets that range from $20,000 to $32,400, all to benefit the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. On Thursday, the first couple will attend the dedication of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

Bill Clinton is also in fundraising mode, right here in the nation's capital. Following a pair of appearances in Maryland, the former president is in Washington on Wednesday to attend a major financial summit where he'll share a stage with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rob Portman, among many others. When his time on the dais is through, Mr. Clinton will stay around long enough to raise a little cash for the Center for American Progress in the evening.

DAYS OF YORE

"The need for collecting large campaign funds would vanish if Congress provided an appropriation for the proper and legitimate expense of the great national parties."

Theodore Roosevelt, in a message before Congress on Dec. 3, 1907.

NOTEWORTHY ALLIES

A low-tax guru, a conservative power player, a major tea partier. Joining forces Wednesday to launch a monthly teleconference — that would be moderator and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist; Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union; and Sal Russo, co-founder of the Tea Party Express — with organizational support from the Partnership for a New American Economy.

The three gents will weigh in on ways to "fix the broken immigration system," organizers say. The takeaway: It's time for conservatives to address immigration. Like, this year.

CRUZISM

The two-year anniversary of the terrorist attack on Benghazi is just over 17 weeks away. Not much progress has been made in the investigation of the events. Why is that? Sen. Ted Cruz has a theory.

"The response of the administration, and sadly the response of Senate Democrats, has been partisan stonewalling, rather than trying to get to the truth," the Texas Republican said on the Senate floor this week. "In the immortal lines of Jack Nicholson, it makes one think perhaps they can't handle the truth."

GORETOPIA

Climate warming and related alarmism are not the most popular topics among Republicans. Many prefer to believe that humans are not responsible for increased temperatures or pesky greenhouses gases, instead chalking it up to prevailing weather patterns that have swept around the planet for many centuries.

But this is not what Al Gore thinks. The climate warming guru and former vice president says that entrepreneur brothers Charles and David Koch hold severe sway over GOP opinion on environmental matters, and that's that. Koch Industries, however, issued a public statement in 2013 noting, "The Kochs are advocates of the critical review that is the foundation of sound science, as everyone interested in furthering discovery should be. Climate science is a complex and ever-changing issue."

That sounds reasonable enough.

"There is a enforced orthodoxy in the Republican Party," Mr. Gore told an audience at the University of Chicago on Monday, explaining that any GOPers who "even breathe the slightest breath of sympathy for the truth about climate science" are chastised.

"I don't think it's particularly complicated. They will face primary opponents financed by the Koch brothers and others who are part of their group," Mr. Gore said, sitting opposite former White House advisor David Axelrod, who moderated the discussion.

"Anyone who wants to set his or her aspirations on the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016 already knows that they can't possibly cross the Koch brothers and the others that are part of that group. They're large carbon polluters and ideological anti-statists, who are really terrified that the government will do anything new. And so, as Grover Norquist said so famously years ago, they want to shrink the government to where it can be drowned in a bathtub."

POLL DU JOUR

51 percent say problems with Obamacare will eventually be solved; 23 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 81 percent of Democrats agree.

49 percent overall say Congress should "make some changes" to Obamacare; 36 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats agree.

20 percent overall say the health care law should be repealed, and the "old" health system reinstated; 33 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

18 percent overall say the law should be repealed and replaced; 23 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 3 percent of Democrats agree.

12 percent overall would keep the law "as it is;" 2 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 1.008 U.S. adults conducted May 2-4 and released Sunday.

Palindromes and onomatopoeias to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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