Leroy J. Pletten,
Medicine and Law History
Substance Abuse Issues
Counselor and Lecturer
Leroy J. Pletten, Ph.D.
|His Eminence||12 October 1998
|Edmund Cardinal Szoka ||
|Prefecture for Economic Affairs ||Re: Thank You For Your Anti-Smoking Activities
|Vatican City, Rome, Italy ||Thereby Promoting "Right-to-Life" Goals|
- Thank you for your activities against cigarette smoking, which have been reported in area media, due to local interest as you were Archbishop of Detroit. We are encouraged by your good example. Your action reminds me of the vigor with which clergymen of the past took action against evils in society, including smoking.
- Enclosed are five items:
- (1) a 9 July 97 background letter from James Haveman, Jr., Director of Community Health on Michigan anti-cigarette law
MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216;
- (2) an 11 Sep 97 second background letter from him;
- (3) a citizen petition" seeking a "cease and desist" order to get the law enforced;
- (4) a TCPG paper on the law and identifying issues (suicide and abortion) with right-to-life implications (and issues of drug abuse, alcoholism, drunk driving, and crime), and
- (5) my notes for my 28 Sep 98 testimony before several legislators, mayors, and law enforcement personnel. (After the testimony in which 20+ individuals participated, a number of members of the audience requested copies of my notes, harsh as they sounded presented aloud. Killing people via suicide and abortion is harsh too; and words honestly describing the brutal underlying process must needs reflect the reality involved; and many in the audience clearly understood that.)
- MCL § 750.27, MSA § 28.216, was adopted in 1909 under three term Governor Fred M. Warner when clergy and law enforcement personnel had major roles in the non-smoker movement. Since then, having lost clergy involvement, the movement has lost moral focus. It barely seeks to protect children, and that only as a health issue. This amoral narrowness omits moral aspects, tobacco's abulia-related link to suicide, alcoholism, promiscuity, abortion, drunk driving, drug abuse, and crime. Nineteenth century anti-tobacco writings, some by clergymen, included much more than the mere health issue, important as that is. Man does not live by bread--health--alone. So your effort is particularly valuable.
- The point of anti-smoking laws such as Michigan's, and their essential effect, was and is to make a cigarette smoke-free society, thus prevent (a) tobacco injuries aka diseases and costs, and (b) more significantly, prevent abulia-related effects, e.g., suicide, alcoholism, promiscuity, abortion, drunk driving, drug abuse, and crime--90%. The law was adopted in 1909 back when religion had more impact, so people were more aware that mental processes (activities in the mind) have a role in sin; "lust" when it has "conceived" "brings forth sin." (James 1:15). The end thereof is "death. Tobacco is a mind-altering drug. Sin spreads. Cigarette-selling, like any sin, may seem small or a "least commandment" issue at first. (Zechariah 4:10; Matthew 5:19). Cigarette selling and harm supposedly merely violates minor, small or "least" commands: Do not curse the deaf nor put a stumbling block before the blind. (Leviticus 19:14). Children are blind and deaf to the cigarette danger. If fire (such as from a cigarette) leads to harm, money damages are mandatory. (Exodus 22:6).
Edmund Cardinal Szoka 12 October 1998
- "Small" sin violating "least" commands, spreads, leads to more violations. If non-human agency (an ox or tobacco) kills a human, those who knew that tendency (ox owner, tobacco pusher) are to executed. (Ex. 21:28-29). That law is unenforced, so the sin of cigarette-selling leads to more violations. Do not take revenge; instead love your neighbor as yourself. (Lev. 19:18; Jas. 2:8). Do not harm strangers, e.g., children in a store where tobacco is illegally sold. (Ex. 22:21). Do not afflict (nor cause) widows and orphans. (Ex. 22:22). Do not follow a multitude to do evil, e.g., sell tobacco. (Ex. 23:2). Do not smite a fellow human with guile, e.g., abulia-causing substances or slow-motion death. (Ex. 21:14). Officials must not accept gifts (campaign contributions). (Ex. 23:8). Violation of the latter command, and buying endorsements by prominent people and lawyers, has led to the mass violation of the foregoing commands. Loving one's neighbor as oneself fulfills the law. (Romans 13:8).
- Tobacco is a mind-altering drug. It seems "small." (Zech. 4:10). And "least." (Matt. 5:19). The word "abulia" is so small, and anti-tobacco commandments seem so "least," most never heard of it or them. But due to the commandment-breaking, it leads to evil effects our paper, Encl 4, documents. Sin spreads.
- Too many in society do not love their neighbor as themselves. So they condone the vast illegal sales of cigarettes to unsuspecting children and the resultant foreseeable deaths of tens of millions. Unlike the Good Samaritan, too many people look the other way when they see this suffering; they lack love. So you are doing good in trying to reverse this state of affairs. It's hard, I know. Here in Michigan, despite my best efforts (I have been advocating and writing on this subject for nearly two years) and what others have been doing for even longer, we cannot even get prosecutors, nor Attorney General, nor sheriffs, nor Governor-controlled state police, nor local police, to begin to enforce the law. How many more must die before the enforcers begin to enforce?
- That unloving mentality of death spreads: in the U.S., there was the sin of not loving neighbors--first Indians, then slaves. The latter unloving mentality spread into the attitude of revenge after the Civil War cited in Encls 4-5; mushroomed into the tens of millions of cigarette deaths occurring from abulic (addictive) tobacco smoking; and is further mushrooming in the recent two decades into additional millions of abortions--a horrifying next step that in hindsight is easy to detect. Sin (unloving mentality) spreads. We see it do so over the centuries. Mental processes conceive. The mind has an impact. The mind-altering starter drug exacerbates that impact. Its abulic effect has an impact. We must break the cycle at the mental process stage--the initial mind-altering drug stage, the cigarette stage.
- Again, thank you for taking anti-cigarette action. You are to be commended for doing so, as you are doing more good than you know.
1. Background Letter, 9 Jul 97, from Director, Mich Dept of Com Health
2. Background Letter, 11 Sep 97, from Director, Mich Dept of Com Health
3. Citizen Petition for a "Cease and Desist" Order Seeking Enforcement
4. TCPG Explanatory Paper (Includes Issues With Right-to-Life Implications)
5. My Well-Received Though Harsh 28 Sep 1998 Testimony/Speech Notes
Summary of Multiple Benefits of Cigarette Control