Reviving church attendance with the use of entheogens
t's a well-known fact that the attendance numbers at houses of worship are in decline. For the first time in 2021, the percentage of attendees dipped below 50%, from a high of 73% in 1937, when Gallup first started keeping score1. Pews are going empty. Ministers are wringing their hands. And yet nobody mentions the obvious solution to the problem, one that's been staring theists in the face for at least the last 50 years, were they not blinded by the light of the Drug War ideology of substance demonization.
It's time for churches (and dare I say mosques and synagogues as well) to start using Ecstasy (and/or similar entheogens) in their religious rituals.
In this way, church-going would become a sensual sort of full-body experience and not just a mental exercise for the tired brain of overthinking homo sapiens. Instead, the churchgoer would experience the oft-cited truths of the gospels, namely, that God is love.
Quanah Parker of the Native American Church best summed up the problem with the status quo as follows:
"The White Man goes into church and talks about Jesus. The Indian goes into his tipi and talks with Jesus."2
This statement should be read as a wake-up call for the hand-wringing preachers mentioned above, but unfortunately said preachers are carrying on with business as normal, apparently convinced by their drug-war indoctrination that to do otherwise would be heresy, if not against the church itself then against the reigning orthodoxies of our time.
For the Drug Warrior has taught us to associate the super-safe drug called Ecstasy with irresponsible youths, notwithstanding the fact that those "irresponsible youths" took part in the most peaceful multi-ethnic get-togethers in world history during the rave phenomena of late 20th-century Britain. You remember how that ended, right? The politicians demonized ecstasy, cracked down on the same, and the dance floor soon devolved into liquor-fueled violence3. This shows the insane priorities of the Drug War: they do not want even peace and safety if it means okaying the use of substances that help the mind think sanely about the world.
And ecstasy is far from the only entheogen whose ritual use could increase church attendance. Alexander Shulgin has synthesized literally hundreds of substances whose use safely conduces to emotional harmony and love for one's fellows.
In fighting for these new experiential religions, which I call Church 2.0, we would be doing our bit to end the hateful Drug War by insisting to the brainwashed world that drugs are not evil in and of themselves, but that they can have beneficial uses as well. This fact would have been obvious to our 18th-century forebears, but it needs to be vigorously defended in an age in which agenda-driven and bribe-taking politicians are determined to quash our right to freedom of thought and consciousness.
By creating these new religions, we will be calling the Drug Warrior's bluff: saying, in effect: "Go on, tell me that I can't practice my religion, so that the world can see the full anti-democratic ignorance of the Drug War ideology that you represent."
Not that the DEA will back down without taking every challenge to the Supreme Court if necessary. Even as I write, the DEA is denying the legitimacy of a Florida religion which seeks to use ayahuasca in its religious rituals. This is such an obvious attack on religious thinking -- one in which a government organization is second-guessing the calls of a religious group -- that one scarcely knows where to begin in protesting it.
This is why the DEA needs to be abolished, not argued with. And then its leaders should be tried for crimes against humanity, in light of the billions who have gone without godsend medicines since that organization started criminalizing and lying about drugs in its politics-based scheduling system in 1973.
The DEA conceives of "drugs" as only justifiable in some time-honored ritual format, but since when are bureaucrats experts on religion? I believe, with the Vedic people and William James, in the importance of altered states. To outlaw such states is to outlaw my religion.
The Holy Trinity of the Drug War religion is Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and John Belushi. "They died so that you might fear psychoactive substances with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
Today's war against drug users is like Elizabeth I's war against Catholics. Both are religious crackdowns. For today's oppressors, the true faith (i.e., the moral way to live) is according to the drug-hating religion of Christian Science.
5% of proceeds from the sale of the above product will go toward getting Brian a decent haircut for once. Honestly. 9% will go toward shoes. 50% will go toward miscellaneous. 9% of the remainder will go toward relaxation, which could encompass anything from a spin around town to an outdoor barbecue at Brian's brother's house in Stanardsville (both gas and the ice-cream cake that Brian usually supplies).
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.
A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.
The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.
It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)
If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.
PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company