America has a long and complicated relationship with alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. While no one disputes the enormous cost of our use of these poisons — thousands of deaths, millions of nasty addictions, and billions of dollars! — we are still drawn to them like moths to the flame.A giant Hooray is owed to CVS Pharmacy for announcing it will no longer sell tobacco products. May they prosper for giving up the profitability of harming people.
I suppose there are three kinds of motivations for people to become enslaved to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. First there is the social pressure. Ever notice how peer pressure always seems to work to draw us down, rarely to raise our level of living?
Second, there is for some the need for escape from reality. It takes more courage than some people have to face and deal with reality. A promise of escape and relief — however illusory — is welcomed by some.
Third, there is the extremely powerful educational effect of marketing and advertising. There is a very great deal of money to be made off people’s bad habits and those who believe profit is its own moral justification are happen to find whatever profit they can in the suffering of other people.
Over the years, my conviction has grown more and more strong and deep that marketing and advertising are major forces for evil in our culture. All in the name of profit. How sad.
Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
St. Paul said, “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
We claim to be a people who treasure freedom more than life itself. In Jesus Christ, we are offered the freedom we crave, the freedom for which we were created. To find that freedom, we need to be honest with God about who we are and how imperfect we are and we need to entrust our lives and hearts and minds to Jesus Christ as rightful Lord of our lives and Savior of our hearts. Honesty and trust: Those are our first steps of freedom with God.