NASHVILLE, Tenn.—As extra Americans have entry to authorized marijuana, most U.S. Protestant pastors stay against its use and legalization.
Five states authorized marijuana legalization measures final November, 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 must be authorized nationwide. According to a study from Lifeway Research, fewer than 1 in 5 pastors (18 %) say it must 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 %) will not be certain.
“There are about as many opinions on marijuana as there are ways to consume it,” stated Scott McConnell, govt director of Lifeway Research. “When asked about legalizing all such uses, the majority of pastors are strongly opposed.”
Differences by area and denomination
Reflecting the state legal guidelines of their respective areas, pastors within the Northeast (24 %) usually tend to assist legalization than these within the South (16 %).
Mainline pastors (43 %) are additionally extra more likely to consider marijuana must 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, creator of the upcoming ebook Cannabis and the Christian, stated the distinction between pastoral assist and public approval must be a warning for pastors. An April 2021 Pew Research Center survey reveals 91 % of Americans favor some kind 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 stated.
Prepare for cultural change
Miles maintains pastors must be ready for the approaching cultural adjustments. “All indications are that public desire for legalization of marijuana is growing rapidly,” he stated. “The church must be ready to minister in that context.”
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Few pastors see nothing improper with smoking marijuana to get excessive. Closely matching legalization percentages, nearly 4 in 5 Protestant pastors (78 %) agree getting excessive smoking marijuana is morally improper, 17 % disagree, and 5 % will not be certain.
“Cultural stigmas around smoking a joint have diminished, but most pastors still say it crosses a moral line,” McConnell stated. “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 nearly twice as doubtless as mainline pastors to see smoking marijuana to get excessive as morally improper (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 share of pastors who view getting excessive from marijuana as sinful is lower than the share in a earlier examine who say the identical about getting drunk.
A 2007 Lifeway Research examine discovered 91 % of Protestant pastors consider getting drunk from alcohol violates biblical educating. 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 consuming 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 stated. “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 stated 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 stated, pastors might be confronted with the problem 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 asserted. “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.”
The blended mode survey of 1,007 Protestant pastors was carried out Sept. 2–Oct. 1, 2020, utilizing each cellphone and on-line interviews. Each survey was accomplished by the senior or sole pastor or a minister on the church. Responses have been weighted by area and church measurement to replicate the inhabitants extra precisely. The accomplished pattern is 1,007 surveys (502 by cellphone, 505 on-line), offering 95 % confidence the sampling error doesn’t exceed plus or minus 3.4 %. Margins of error are increased in sub-groups.