By AARON EARLS, LifeWay Research
NASHVILLE (BP) – As extra Americans have entry to authorized marijuana, most U.S. Protestant pastors stay against its use and legalization.
In November 2020, 5 states authorised marijuana legalization measures, together with Mississippi, which grew to become the primary Southern state to approve medical marijuana. Now, 36 states have legalized it for medicinal functions, together with 15 states which have totally legalized grownup marijuana use, in response to CNN.
Among Protestant pastors, nevertheless, few consider marijuana use ought to be authorized nationwide. According to a study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research, fewer than 1 in 5 pastors (18 %) say it ought to be legalized all through the nation for any function. More than 3 in 4 pastors (76 %) disagree, together with 59 % who disagree strongly. Few (6 %) should not positive.
“There are about as many opinions on marijuana as there are ways to consume it,” mentioned Scott McConnell, government director of Lifeway Research. “When asked about legalizing all such uses, the majority of pastors are strongly opposed.”
Reflecting the state legal guidelines of their respective areas, pastors within the Northeast (24 %) usually tend to help legalization than these within the South (16 %).
Mainline pastors (43 %) are additionally extra prone to consider marijuana ought to be legalized for any function than evangelical pastors (10 %). Denominationally, Methodist (37 %) and Presbyterian Reformed (35 %) pastors usually tend to again legalization than Restorationist motion pastors (21 %), Lutherans (15 %), Pentecostals (10 %) and Baptists (7 %).
Todd Miles, writer of the upcoming B&H ebook, “Cannabis and the Christian,” says the distinction between pastoral help and public approval ought to be a warning for pastors. According to an April 2021 Pew Research Center survey, 91 % of Americans favor some sort of legalization, with 60 % supporting making marijuana authorized for each medical and leisure use.
“The fact that only 18 percent of pastors support legalizations shows the influence of the clergy in America is not as strong as it once was,” Miles mentioned.
Miles maintains pastors ought to be ready for the approaching cultural adjustments.
“All indications are that public desire for legalization of marijuana is growing rapidly,” he mentioned. “The church must be ready to minister in that context.”
Low help for getting excessive
Few pastors see nothing flawed with smoking marijuana to get excessive. Closely matching legalization percentages, virtually 4 in 5 Protestant pastors (78 %) agree that getting excessive smoking marijuana is morally flawed, 17 % disagree, and 5 % should not positive.
“Cultural stigmas around smoking a joint have diminished, but most pastors still say it crosses a moral line,” McConnell mentioned. “While some may connect this prohibition to state laws that still forbid this use, it is clear from their views on legalization that pastors see moral problems with getting high beyond simply disobeying government authorities.”
Evangelical pastors are virtually twice as possible as mainline pastors to see smoking marijuana to get excessive as morally flawed (89 % to 47 %). Denominationally, Pentecostals (97 %) and Baptists (92 %) usually tend to see it as immoral than Restorationist motion (74 %), Methodist (66 %), Lutheran (63 %) and Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (57 %).
The proportion of pastors who view getting excessive from marijuana as sinful is lower than the proportion in a earlier research who say the identical about getting drunk.
A 2007 Lifeway Research research discovered 91 % of Protestant pastors consider getting drunk from alcohol violates biblical instructing. Among Protestant churchgoers, 87 % say Scripture signifies individuals ought to by no means get drunk, in response to a 2017 Lifeway Research study.
In each research, respondents tended to attract distinctions between ingesting and getting drunk. Few pastors and churchgoers consider Scripture signifies individuals ought to by no means drink alcohol.
“While marijuana and many other narcotics are not mentioned in the Bible, getting drunk to the point of triggering hallucinations is,” McConnell mentioned. “There is consistent rebuke throughout Scripture for using alcohol to the point of losing control of your words and actions that pastors reflect in their reactions to marijuana today.”
Miles mentioned he usually interacts with “pastors who do not think the issue of marijuana use is relevant to the people of their congregation.” Regardless of their perceptions, he mentioned pastors can be confronted with the difficulty in some unspecified time in the future.
“If recreational and medical marijuana are not currently legal in your home state, they soon will be,” Miles mentioned. “Relying on the laws as the basis for your convictions on the wisdom of marijuana use is increasingly becoming less and less of an option.”