Julian Mann has been vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire since 2000. Before ordaination he was a reporter for Retail Week.
Why are the police treating sexual harassment as a graver evil than the taking of illegal drugs?
Both are socially evil and should be prosecuted on the basis of sufficient evidence. But the police appear to be taking complaints of sexual harassment much more seriously than the concerns of local residents about crowds of people smoking cannabis in public places, such as parks and recreation grounds.
Looking at the scale of political correct values, it is not too difficult to understand why sexual harassment in the workplace against a junior employee by a person in a powerful position is perceived as such a serious evil. Feminists such as Harriet Harman, Labour’s Deputy Leader, have a particular concern that male-dominated working environments are conducive to the sexual harassment of women.
But the victims of drug-motivated crime, especially burglary, are often women too, and vulnerable ones at that. It is bewildering why politically correct values as a system of moral values is not as concerned about them as it is about women in the workplace. This is mystery beyond my comprehension – that and the feminist silence over the deliberate choice by some mothers to have abortions because their unborn children are female.
I can, however, testify from pastoral experience to the human misery drug abuse causes. I have witnessed the profound grief it causes the families, particularly the mothers, of those who choose to take illegal drugs.
Furthermore, whilst it can be difficult to say with certainty that the burglary committed against an elderly lady in her 90s living on her own was drug-related – the culprit whom she disturbed in her flat during the break-in was never caught – he was stealing quickly for cash, so it could well have been in a community where drug taking is rife and largely unchallenged. It was a traumatic experience for her.
I can also testify to the demoralisation caused when police appear to perceive the perpetrators of drug-associated crime as victims of social injustice and those who have been harmed by their evil actions as having provoked them by dint of being property owners. If such socially Marxist thinking takes over our police force, then it will not serve the public.
I must declare a spiritual interest here. Like many people, whether or not they would call themselves Christians, I am very concerned about the deleterious social effects of illegal drug taking, particularly in hindering the intellectual and moral development of young people. I noticed the effect of cannabis on the minds of some of my friends at the London school I attended in the 1970s. Nearly five years with them from the ages of 13 to 18 was certainly enough to convince me that dope made them under-achieve, and in some cases seriously harmed them in combination with the other illegal drugs they took.
To my clear recollection, they were influenced towards this evil by certain popular musicians who became rich and famous in the 1960s, two of whom have received knighthoods. These represent to my mind, as the writer of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes put it, “oppressions that are done under the sun…and on the side of (the) oppressors there was power”.
But I am also concerned that the social disorder that illegal drug taking is causing, together with other evils that are allowed to flourish in the permissive society, is hindering and will hinder the proclamation of the eternal Kingdom of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ in this country.
That honestly is my particular motivation for writing about the need for our law enforcers to treat illegal drug taking no less seriously than the crime of sexual harassment.