Christian appointed to Government drugs panel
It has been announced that Dr Hans-Christian Raabe has been appointed to the Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which advises the Government on drugs policy in the UK.
Dr Raabe is the medical co-ordinator for the Council for Health and Wholeness (CHW), a Christian organisation based within the Maranatha Community. He is a prominent spokesman on the problems of sexual health and drug use among young people, for which he has organised a number of Parliamentary consultations in both Houses of Parliament.
His appointment signals an important shake-up in thinking for the ACMD, which has clashed repeatedly with ministers in recent years and has often taken a liberal approach to drugs policy. Dr Raabe favours an approach focusing on the prevention of drug use. He has also suggested that strong marriages and families can help society deal with drug use. He stated:
“Harm reduction has its place, but I’m concerned that it’s the only policy being advocated. In schools, for example, where the majority of children don’t take drugs, we still need a prevention approach,” Dr Raabe said.
He has argued in the past that “it is futile to pursue discredited policies of so-called ‘harm-reduction’ and vital that the government and the nation are totally committed to the ideal of a drug-free society.”
The announcement of Dr Raabe’s appointment has caused quite a stir and has provoked a suggestion from the BBC that at least one member of the ACMD may resign as a result of his appointment. This hostility is believed to be based on Dr Raabe’s strong stance against drug use and his more general Christian views, including his views on homosexuality. DrRaabe stated that society was in danger of believing that "if you are a Christian you are not fit for public office or you are biased or a bigot".
Many commentators have welcomed the appointment. Melanie Phillips, an Orwell Prize winning journalist and author, said that:
“Dr Raabe has long maintained a close interest in drug policy, on which he has robustly traditional views. He has spoken out in favour of abstinence-based approaches and criticised the flawed logic behind the claim that it is the illegality of drugs such as cannabis that is the problem.
“Considering the unhappy fact that over recent years many on the Advisory Council have taken the ultra-liberal view that treating drug-users is the priority rather than reducing their numbers, Dr Raabe’s membership of the council was very welcome news.”
Responding to The Observer, which reported that drugs charities and experts expressed surprise that someone of such ‘stringent opinions’ could be appointed to the Advisory Council, she stated:
“Clearly, ‘stringent opinions’ in favour of drug liberalisation are considered entirely appropriate in such circles; but anyone who goes against the politically-correct grain on homosexuality or who has robust Christian views must be considered a bigot and thus have no place in public life.
In fact, anyone truly concerned to end the scourge of drug abuse should be delighted that at last there is a strong voice for common sense and morality on the Advisory Council.
“Penalising religious people for speaking and acting in accordance with their beliefs is neither liberal nor tolerant. It is behaviour more commonly associated with totalitarian dictatorships.
“It must be said that many gay people are themselves uneasy or even appalled by this increasingly oppressive use of their cause. Privately, many will say that all they ever want is to live free from discrimination and not to provoke discrimination against others.”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said: “I am delighted to hear of the appointment of Dr Raabe to this important post. It is a shame that, as once again demonstrated, some believe that if you are a Christian then you should not be allowed a voice in the public sphere.”