BATTLE MOUNTAIN - What was the big New Year's celebration about in Colorado? Oh yes, it was the legalizing of the sale and smoking of pot.

When I was a kid, we had this stuff growing in our pasture, and played in it. We called it wild hemp. In World War II our country grew it for rope, as the Japanese controlled the Philippines, our main source. There was a field of it 20 miles away.

In the 50s I first heard of it being smoked. A Christian film, "Assassin of Youth", warned of its affects-even showing violent acts committed by those who used it.

But in the 60s pot smoking was significantly on the increase, being associated with the "hippie movement"-rebellion against the "establishment". Yes, Jocelyn Elders, Clinton-appointed Surgeon General also advocated legalizing marijuana and cocaine in 1993. There have been other celebrations of our moral degeneracy in the past year, which our president supported and promoted.

Listen to the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a hero survivor of years of imprisonment in the Soviet Union. (New York Times, November 28, 1993): "If we do not learn to limit firmly our desires and demands, to subordinate our interests to moral criteria, we, humankind, will simply be torn apart, as the worst aspects of human nature bare their teeth."

Yes, it is true. All men have a sinful nature. And we are seeing before our very eyes a war being waged against every vestige of moral righteousness, because we have thrown out the Bible-the Word of the Living God. And the outcome will be catastrophic.

A few months ago the Nevada Assembly also considered a measure to end prohibition of recreational marijuana. But Law Enforcement officials came out against it, saying that marijuana is extremely detrimental to one's ability to drive, and that it destroys family. Many politicians haven't a clue, but law enforcement people know.

In 1998 Oregon voted on a bill similar to the one passed in Colorado. Roger Burt of Lake Oswego, researched, and related the following: "Smoked marijuana has never been shown to be safe and effective treatment for any medical problem. Twenty-five years of scientific research, and more than 12,000 published studies have confirmed only harm and health damage from smoked marijuana...(it) has the same addictive potential as heroin, cocaine, tobacco and alcohol. Lung damage from smoking one marijuana cigarette is equal to smoking 14 tobacco cigarettes...is now known to cause cancer...weakens the body's own immune system and also causes potentially fatal lung infections...damages thinking, memory, learning, judgment and self management abilities. A 1996 study showed marijuana causes antisocial personality traits; specifically, disregard for ones own safety, others' safety, social norms, and lawful behavior." Also, "teenagers who use it are six times more likely to bring guns to school; four times more likely to attack another person with the intention of hurting them; twice as likely to attempt suicide; and eighty-five times more likely to use cocaine."

Biology professor Dr. George Russell, author of the book, Marijuana Today, said: "Those who used marijuana (cannabis) typically displayed a goallessness, or serious loss of motivation...They were apathetic and sluggish in both mental and physical responses...there was usually a loss of interest in personal cleanliness, grooming and dress...steadily declining academic ability and class standing were common." Obviously, many become unemployable.

A junior faculty member at Berkley dropped out of school, and for 18 months used cannabis daily. When he realized that the drug was affecting his physical coordination, he stopped taking it, and two years later returned to the University to work. He said that he could no longer handle mathematics at his prior level. He simply couldn't follow the arguments anymore. Today, three and a half years later, he still cannot. He is convinced that the change is permanent and was drug induced.

Drugs may give one a temporary false sense of relief from the burden of sin and guilt, or from the difficulties and disappointments of life. However, there is a real refuge for sinners. Jesus said, "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Bob Beetler is a resident of Battle Mountain.