Should Christians Smoke Pot Or Not? Church Leaders Divided

With the state of Colorado seeing unbelievable success in the sale of recreational marijuana, many Christians are asking the question, “should Christians smoke pot?” Joining Washington, Colorado became the second state to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana, and other states may soon follow.

The issue is a complicated one for people of the Christian faith. For years, they have been able to use the reasoning that since it is illegal, and Christians are to obey the laws of the government, the answer is to simply “pass on grass.” Mark Driscoll, a mega church pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, wrote an ebook in December 2012 called “Puff or Pass: Should Christians Smoke Pot or Not” addressing the issue of whether Christians should participate in smoking weed or not. His conclusion is basically that just because something is legal, doesn’t make it wise. While smoking weed may not technically be a sin, he compares it to eating a cereal box when you should be eating the cereal. Not wrong, but really stupid.

Another notable Christian leader, John Piper, recently wrote a blog post on his website, Desiring God, entitled “Don’t Let Your Mind Go To Pot“. Piper, a former pastor and renowned Christian speaker, contends in his article that marijuana is a “mood-altering, mind-altering drug”. He argues the only purpose, outside of medicinal use, for a person to smoke marijuana is to change their state of mind. While he acknowledges that others substances, such as caffeine, have the same effect, he points out that marijuana impairs brain function, inhibiting the user.

But Piper’s main thrust in the post is not to address the scientific merits of marijuana. He is much more concerned with a spiritual answer to the question, “should Christians smoke pot?” Using the Bible as his main supporting text, John Piper quotes I Corinthians 6:19-20.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

He concludes his argument by basically saying the Christian’s body does not belong to them, but rather to the Holy Spirit who lives in them. Therefore, it would be wrong to “trespass” on the temple of the spirit of God by inhibiting brain function through the use of a substance.

But not every Christian pastor shares Piper’s point of view. Reverend John Jackson, who leads Trinity United Church of Christ in Gary, IN, does not think God is very concerned about our weed usage. In a June 18 interview, Jackson told The Tennessean:

I’ve had several members who have shared with me privately (and) said, ‘Reverend, you know, I smoke weed. I know I shouldn’t.’ Let me stop you right there. The God we serve, I don’t believe, is that small or petty to be concerned about you smoking weed or cigarette. I don’t think God cares about that. Just to let them know, our God is too big to be concerned about somebody smoking a joint, smoking a cigarette or even drinking a glass of beer.

The African American pastor belongs to a group of pastors who are declaring war on the war on drugs. They believe the “war on drugs” is unfairly aimed at minorities and is actually having an adverse affect on inner city minority groups. Others in the group have called the war on drugs an “injustice.”

With more and more states coming on board with the idea of legalized marijuana use, it seems Christians will have to decide which leaders they will listen to. Either God cares deeply about what they put into their body or he is not concerned with such “petty” issues.

Do you support the legalization of and right to smoke marijuana recreationally?