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Christian Denominations With Most Conservative Stance on Legalizing Marijuana

By    |   Wednesday, 06 May 2015 08:43 PM

The most conservative Christian stance on the legalization of marijuana is a resounding “no,” based on biblical references to Galatians 5:19-21, where it is clear that the use of mind-altering substances displeases the Creator, according to GodandScience.org.

But do the specific conservative denominations agree? It is a mixed bag. Here are some different denominational stances on the issue.

Even conservative Christian Texas State Rep. David Simpson has introduced a bill repealing all state regulation of marijuana. He says, “Feasting and wine are recognized as blessings from God” in his essay, “The Christian Case for Drug Law Reform,” in "TribTalk," a publication of The Texas Tribune.

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Specific denominations such as the Presbyterian Church, United Church of Christ, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Episcopalians have all made statements in support of medical marijuana.

“The Presbyterian Church (USA) joins the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, Union for Reform Judaism, Progressive National Baptist Convention and the Unitarian Universalist Association in support of decriminalizing medical marijuana.”

In 1982, according to Torie Bosch at Slate, the Episcopalians passed a resolution regarding policy impacting the use of the substance that, in part, “urges the adoption by Congress and all states of statutes providing that the use of marijuana be permitted when deemed medically appropriate by duly licensed medical practitioners."

Many Christians in favor of legalizing marijuana quote Matthew 25:35, which calls for aid for the suffering, as a support of their position.

But that is not to say they support recreational use of marijuana. In fact, the Methodist Church considers it to be a gateway drug, and the Episcopals say it can be disabling — the Presbyterians are not as strict, but do believe marijuana can lead to drug abuse.

The Church of Jesus Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints is strongly against its use as well, according to Bosch.

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The Vatican has said it is against legalizing “soft drugs” and its newspaper L’Osservatore Romano had strong language for its legalization.

The evangelical stance expressed on FaithStreet explains that various churches tend to belong several ethical “camps.”

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, takes a hard stance against marijuana use for any reason.

“This is not something that is being given to people with terminal cancer,” Moore said in a “Questions and Ethics” podcast. “It is something that is being given very indiscriminately with a substance that has a long cultural history in this country of essentially inducing a kind of immediate drunkenness, which is of course prohibited in scripture for a believer: ‘Be not drunk.’”

Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, agrees. "Medical marijuana is not always good medicine, especially since it’s often abused," Daly told FaithStreet.

"In fact, it’s unsettled science with strong opinions on both sides. I respect and appreciate the ongoing dialogue. But what is absolutely certain is that there are no benefits to recreational marijuana use that are worth its cost to society,” Daly said.

In contrast, conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson supports legalization, which he told The New York Times in 2012. “I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” said Robertson.

“I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”

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The most conservative Christian stance on the legalization of marijuana is a resounding “no,” based on biblical references to Galatians 5:19-21. But do the specific conservative denominations agree? It is a mixed bag. Here are some different denominational stances on the issue.
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Wednesday, 06 May 2015 08:43 PM
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