Yes, Pat Robertson is for the legalization of marijuana. He said it in a New York Times piece, and it was confirmed by his publicist for the Washington Post. There is no reason to take him seriously, but at least this time he's saying something sane. His reasons for being in favor of legalization have nothing to do with his desire to smoke it; rather, it's a pragmatic position based on the impact on the family and our nation's budget of the idiotic War on Drugs.
Robertson is better known as an erstwhile presidential candidate, jeremiad-spinning weather interpreter, and election predicter. (I guess it isn't really a prediction if God told him.) What is unique to this latest statement, though, is that it will likely cost him dearly in terms of viewers and support, assuming he has any of either left. What is "second verse, same as the first" about this is that yet another Christian celebrity feels very comfortable opining on what ought to be. Robertson's previous forays into Ezekiel-like fever dreams have been standard schlock among Pentecostal and Charismatic "prophets" since the days of David Wilkerson's The Vision: A Terrifying Prophecy of Doomsday that is Starting to Happen Now scared the shit out of this Pentecostal kid in 1977. I was unaware of Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth at the time, although it came out in 1970. I wasn't reading scary prophecy books when I was 6, but I sure as hell was at 13.
Wilkerson's book wasn't particularly special, as there was nothing new about "interpreting the signs," but it did go farther than most inasmuch as he claimed to have a special revelation from God about what was to come. Most satisfied themselves with interpreting what had just happened—fire, flood, tornado, drought,etc.—only offering the occasional general prediction of more wrath to come. The Pentecostal movement produced a slew of Sister Sharon Falconers and Elmer Gantrys (Kathryn Kuhlman, Aimee Semple McPherson, Oral Roberts, William Branham, etc.), each equipped with some sort of tin cans and string contraption connecting them to God. The midwest has always been a perfect place to read weather signs, as tornados appear obediently every year like the fingers of Marduk scraping the sin off the Wheat Belt.
I am probably too young to remember how political some of the sign reading was in those days. I'm sure some evangelist somewhere thought Goldwater or Humphrey was the antichrist. They certainly perceived the feminist movement as evil. The recent election cycle is likely to take sign reading to a new level. While Romney has largely stayed out of the faith wars (with good reason...Kolob, anyone?), Santorum has gone after Obama's "phony theology" with glee. When his speech at Ave Maria University in 2008 wherein he said, "Satan has his sights set on America," made the Drudge Report, Santorum quickly explained that the comments weren't relevant to this election. Um, of course not. That you believe in a diabolical creature with nearly unlimited power to thwart god's plan on the earth, and that you can interpret various political realities as part of Old Scratch's nefarious scheme to undermine America's virtue, and that you can do it while ignoring your own theological tradition simply to appeal to evangelical and fundamentalist voters has nothing to do with your fitness for the office of POTUS. Nope. Nothing at all.
I could toss in Mark Driscoll's freewheeling sexual exegetical method here, too, but that would be tedious. You get the point. The beauty of biblical authority is that it begins with a text that is assumed to be accurate. That sounds lovely. Here is the book; here is what it says; now we know the truth. Unfortunately, hermeneutics doesn't work that way. The words have to be interpreted as to what is actually meant. When an event occurs in the Bible, the immediate question is how to apply that to a current context. Is the passage descriptive, prescriptive, or proscriptive? Even if you assume the text to be accurate, which I typically don't, the true believer is left to answer the question of "is that something god does now?" If massacring an entire nation is a "god thing," why be opposed to genocide now? Does god no longer operate that way? Or are we just waiting for him to tell us which nation is next? And if he allegedly does, how will we test his words? What two or three witnesses will establish this as the kol YHWH?
Less inflammatory but still important, which ethical behaviors are important and how are they to be understood? Take "biblical marriage" for example. Santorum and the evangelicals he wants to reach use the term as if its meaning is clear. To substantiate the claim that biblical marriage is one man and one woman forever faithful, they cite Jesus and Genesis. How convenient. They ignore polygamy and concubinage. They even ignore Paul who will later say "husband of one wife," a passage that likely means polygamous Christians, not divorcees. When discussing war or capital punishment, they cite Genesis, Joshua, and Paul. Hmmm. Who is missing in that line-up? Oh yeah, the One who said "love your enemies."
Fungibility is the quality of exchangeability. If I can sub one Bible verse for another, then authority is established, because, well, it's still the Bible. Never mind that an exegetical and hermeneutical method ought to be consistent. Absent a consistent rubric, I'm free to interpret signs and passages as I see fit, which is to say, in concert with my own desires or preferences. Call it what you want, but I'm still going with idolatry, and I don't even practice the faith.