Sunday, January 27, 2013


It seems to me that America has rounded a corner on the issue of marijuana's legality and has set a course towards legalizing and normalizing its use. With each passing year the social and legal barriers to openly smoking marijuana are further eroded. This past year Washington and Colorado one-upped those states which had legalized medical marijuana by making it legal for recreational use. Such a move was telling, but even more telling was the somewhat muted response of Americans to the decision.

I don't think that the American church is very well prepared for the coming debate over the permissibility of marijuana within its ranks. Up to this point the argument has been that it is sinful because it is against the law and we, as Christians, are commanded to live in submission to the civil authorities, but if it is legalized I wonder what arguments the church will make. Some parallels can be drawn to alcohol which not that long ago in our national memory was also illegal and stigmatized, but is it the same?

Some of the questions that I have encountered are whether or not it is possible to smoke marijuana and not become intoxicated? Are the biblical exhortations against drunkenness applicable here? Can marijuana be smoked responsibly?

It's properties are naturally derived (i.e. God given). Is that tantamount to a divine endorsement of its use?

What questions would you add?

My own argument against marijuana is based on 1 Corinthians 6:12, ''All things are lawful for me,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things things are lawful for me,' but I will not be enslaved by anything.'' I think, biblically speaking, that permissibility is a pretty low argument to make. There is a higher law and that is what is beneficial and helpful. I personally don't think marijuana is either.

What do you think about marijuana in the church?

1 comment:

al'xae said...

I've never used legality as a measure for morality.