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Faith Leaders Wrestle Over Growing Support for Marijuana
Christian Headlines ^ | February 04, 2014 | Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Posted on 02/05/2014 3:37:20 AM PST by xzins

Sunday’s Super Bowl was dubbed by some as the “pot bowl,” as the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks hail from the two states where fans can soon get marijuana as easily as they can get pizza. As public opinion has shifted in support of legalized marijuana, religious leaders are wrestling over competing interests, including high prison rates and legislating morality.

According to a 2013 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, 58 percent of white mainline Protestants and 54 percent of black Protestants favor legalizing the use of marijuana. On the other side, nearly seven-in-10 (69 percent) white evangelical Protestants oppose it.

Catholics appear to be the most divided Christian group, with 48 percent favoring legalization and 50 percent opposing it. Opinions on how states should handle those who possess or sell marijuana varies among Christian leaders.

Caught in the middle of the debate are pastors, theologians and other religious leaders, torn over how to uphold traditional understandings of sin and morality amid a rapidly changing tide of public opinion.

Mark DeMoss, a spokesman for several prominent evangelicals including Franklin Graham and Hobby Lobby founder Steve Green, admits he takes a view that might not be held by most Christian leaders.

“When 50 percent of our prison beds are occupied by nonviolent offenders, we have prison overcrowding problems and violent offenders serving shortened sentences, I have a problem with incarceration for possession of marijuana,” he said.

“None of that’s to say I favor free and rampant marijuana use. I don’t think it’s the most serious blight on America.”

Alcohol abuse, he said, is a much more serious issue. President Obama suggested something similar to The New Yorker recently when he said that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol.

But don’t expect pastors to start preaching in line with DeMoss, who said he has not seen much comment from religious leaders on the issue.

“If a pastor said some of what I said, there would be some who would feel the pastor was compromising on a moral issue,” he said. “No one wants to risk looking like they’re in favor of marijuana. I’m not in favor, but I think we should address how high of a priority it should be.”

Both Colorado and Washington state approved the recreational use of marijuana by adults in the 2012 elections. Even Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who found early support among some evangelicals during the 2012 presidential race, has come out supporting the decriminalization of marijuana.

Laws on marijuana have disproportionately impacted minorities, said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

“There are community programs that can better engage young people than incarceration,” he said. “Many black and brown lives are destroyed because of incarceration.”

A majority of Americans now favor legalizing the use of marijuana, according to the most recent polling from the Pew Research Center. In 2013, 52 percent said that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45 percent said it should not. Among millennials (adults born after 1980), 65 percent favor legalizing marijuana use, up from just 36 percent in 2008.

Most Christians are still reluctant to favor legalization, Rodriguez said, since the effects of marijuana aren’t much different from getting drunk, which is a biblical no-no.

“It has the ability of diluting reason, behavior, putting your guard down,” he said. “We are temples of God’s Holy Spirit, and it has the ability of hindering a clear thought process.”

Some who favor legalized marijuana liken the Christians who oppose it to be like the early 20th-century evangelicals and fundamentalists who supported a federal prohibition on alcohol.

Part of a move in the Republican Party toward a loosening on marijuana legislation could be coming from people who also would sympathize with the Tea Party, said Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“I definitely think there’s been a coalition of ‘leave us alone’ libertarians and Woodstock nation progressives on this issue of marijuana,” Moore said. “I do think there has been an effort to stigmatize those with concerns as Carrie Nations holding on to prohibition.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has joined a growing group of states that have loosened restrictions on marijuana, planning to allow limited use of the drug by those with serious illnesses. Some leaders, including Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly, have suggested there are medical benefits but do not condone recreational use of marijuana.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use by adults, according to the Daily Beast. Twenty states have passed legislation to allow medical marijuana since 1996, while 16 states have begun to allow the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

But Moore said the analogy between alcohol and marijuana laws don’t hold up.

“Alcohol already had a ubiquitous presence in American society long before prohibition, in ways marijuana has not,” he said, suggesting he could find support for some medical marijuana. “If there were studies demonstrating marijuana is the best treatment for a particular disease and the prescription was tightly regulated the way we do morphine and other mind-altering drugs, yes. That’s not what we have happening in America right now.”


TOPICS: Current Events; General Discusssion; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: holiness; intoxication; libertarians; medicalmarijuana; randsconcerntrolls; temple
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1 posted on 02/05/2014 3:37:21 AM PST by xzins
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To: All
Most Christians are still reluctant to favor legalization, Rodriguez said, since the effects of marijuana aren’t much different from getting drunk, which is a biblical no-no.

“It has the ability of diluting reason, behavior, putting your guard down,” he said. “We are temples of God’s Holy Spirit, and it has the ability of hindering a clear thought process.”

2 posted on 02/05/2014 3:37:51 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins

I really don’t think anyone in this country has a clear thought process anymore, sober or not sober.


3 posted on 02/05/2014 3:45:37 AM PST by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: xzins

Alot of Christians divorce that doesn’t make it an action pastors should condone.

Sad that modern heathen culture finds acceptance among pastors even Christians. We are supposed to be in the world not embracing the world.


4 posted on 02/05/2014 3:55:42 AM PST by RginTN
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To: xzins
To my knowledge, there was no prohibition against drugs and alcohol in either the NT or OT. Nor was there any suggestion that there should be. It was a known problem. Indeed, the Bible admonishes against it.

So how are secular prohibition laws justified on a scriptural basis?

5 posted on 02/05/2014 3:55:49 AM PST by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
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To: chris37

I think those who are not sober definitely do not have a clear thought process.

The ability of a sober-minded person varies, of course, based on illness, mental capacity, etc.


6 posted on 02/05/2014 3:56:50 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: Ken H

Intoxication is always presented negatively in the bible


7 posted on 02/05/2014 3:58:30 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins
I have to wonder ─ in States that have legalized marijuana will prisoners serving time for possession be freed?
8 posted on 02/05/2014 4:22:20 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: xzins
Intoxication is always presented negatively in the bible

Exactly. Yet there was no legal prohibition, and nowhere does the Bible advocate for it. So how does scripture justify prohibition of drugs or alcohol under secular law?

9 posted on 02/05/2014 4:25:19 AM PST by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
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To: R. Scott

Good question. It would seem to make sense. But law in the US doesn’t make sense....


10 posted on 02/05/2014 4:27:42 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: Ken H

Romans 13 and the invention of the automobile.


11 posted on 02/05/2014 4:29:38 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins
Romans 13 and the invention of the automobile.

You lost me. Explain how the above justifies legal prohibition.

12 posted on 02/05/2014 4:32:34 AM PST by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
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To: Ken H

It justifies legal control...a controlled substance.

Same with marijuana, actually.


13 posted on 02/05/2014 4:40:54 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins
It justifies legal control...a controlled substance.

How so? It says nothing about what secular law should be regarding prohibition. The sanctions described in Romans 13 come from God, not man.

14 posted on 02/05/2014 4:50:18 AM PST by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
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To: Ken H

Romans 13 says that good rulers make good laws for the good of society and that they should be obeyed.

I don’t know anyone arguing that we drop DUI because it’s got no basis in reality.


15 posted on 02/05/2014 4:56:23 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins
"Romans 13 says that good rulers make good laws for the good of society and that they should be obeyed".

We are a nation born out of rebellion to god then right? I think you are missing the context of "Romans".

16 posted on 02/05/2014 5:14:47 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: xzins
Using your logic here, we should issue an all-out ban on texting anywhere because some people text while driving.

Make the prohibitions specific to a combination of activities such as driving drunk or high. Someone at home drinking or smoking pot does not pose a danger to the travelling public.

17 posted on 02/05/2014 5:20:17 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: Durus

The exact opposite, actually. The argument about good leaders making good laws was the basis for the rebellion: the declaration of independence included that long list of usurpation which were BAD laws from BAD rulers.


18 posted on 02/05/2014 5:21:37 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: dirtboy

I don’t see that being my logic at all.

I see governments deciding that texting is dangerous based on statistics and then passing laws attaching penalties for doing so.

That seems a perfectly reasonable law to me given the extreme danger and enormous number of miles driven per year.

If a state chooses such a law, then it seems to me that such a law is within their charter.


19 posted on 02/05/2014 5:24:42 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins
Romans 13 says that good rulers make good laws for the good of society and that they should be obeyed.

The Founders were certainly good rulers who made good laws for the good of society. The fact that there was no prohibition at the time and no advocacy for such is a major flaw in your position.

I don’t know anyone arguing that we drop DUI because it’s got no basis in reality.

Me neither.

20 posted on 02/05/2014 5:25:03 AM PST by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
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To: xzins

The way to combat substance abuse is to deal with the root issues that are causing the pain in the person’s life that they are trying to numb or escape.


21 posted on 02/05/2014 5:27:50 AM PST by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: Ken H

Actually, they taxed it. Whiskey Rebellion put down by George Washington by force.

So, they did exert controls on it.

Also, the danger of riding a horse while drunk is probably not as likely to injure others as is driving a vehicle while drunk.


22 posted on 02/05/2014 5:28:09 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins

Texting while not driving is perfectly safe. Banning pot smoking when someone is not driving because they might drive would be akin to banning all texting because someone might text while driving.


23 posted on 02/05/2014 5:31:20 AM PST by dirtboy
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To: metmom

I worked on a drug/alcohol ward at Veteran’s Hospital and had a career in the military chaplaincy, my last 6 years in a counseling role.

I think the issue with alcohol abuse is addiction and the inability to kick that addiction.

There is a significant body of literature that points to an addiction to marijuana. More important is the mental issues associated with marijuana use in my opinion.

Nonetheless, in BOTH there is inebriation that ruins normal reflexes during the inebriated period of time. Making laws to prohibit driving under the influence makes perfect sense to me.


24 posted on 02/05/2014 5:32:38 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: dirtboy

I don’t see any argument on my part against texting while not driving.

Substances, however, can legitimately be controlled.

No one under 21 can purchase, purchased only in licensed locations, no operating vehicles while under the influence, etc. Those are all good laws and apply to marijuana as much as to alcohol.


25 posted on 02/05/2014 5:36:45 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins

First of all, there’s this passage:

Rev 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

And this one:

Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Rev 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

I point this out because of the word “sorcerers” in each text. That’s the Greek “pharmakeus” meaning “a druggist (“pharmacist”) or poisoner, that is, (by extension) a magician: - sorcerer.” In context, it’s obvious that drug dealing for the purpose of getting high is being condemned to the lake of fire.

In other places in the Bible it’s clear that using any substance to the point that it clouds our faculties is a bad thing.

Pro 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

That’s why they tended to mix their wine with water. They’d get the medicinal effects of the wine, including the disinfection of potentially tainted water, but it would take a lot to cloud their faculties.


26 posted on 02/05/2014 5:37:15 AM PST by afsnco
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To: xzins
Romans 13 doesn't quantify good from bad, nor could it considering it is an epistle to Romans, who could not be considered "good" in any respect towards Christians.

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established".

27 posted on 02/05/2014 5:39:03 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: Ken H

You need to stop padding your ignorance. Sorry.


28 posted on 02/05/2014 5:46:05 AM PST by ifinnegan
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To: xzins
Actually, they taxed it. Whiskey Rebellion put down by George Washington by force. So, they did exert controls on it.

Agreed. You make my point. The Whiskey Rebellion was over taxation levels. It was not over whether it should be prohibited.

Also, the danger of riding a horse while drunk is probably not as likely to injure others as is driving a vehicle while drunk.

Well, yes, but what does that have to do with prohibiting drugs or alcohol? We have laws against DUI for alcohol but alcohol itself is not prohibited.

29 posted on 02/05/2014 5:47:40 AM PST by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
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To: ifinnegan
You need to stop padding your ignorance. Sorry.

Suppose you enlighten all of us and explain how the Bible justifies secular prohibition laws, and why the Founders never saw fit to institute it.

30 posted on 02/05/2014 5:51:01 AM PST by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
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To: afsnco
So what you are saying is that pharmacists are going to hell? It's a real stretch to say that "sorcerers" (pharmakeus) translates into druggies or even drug dealers. The Greek word incorporates a lot of meaning, including the "snake oil salesmen" to a person that would drug people to give an illusion of a religious experience, even to faking a religious experience minus drug use. It even includes the concept of an overt poisoner.

A snake handling "evangelist" matches this definition more so than a recreation drug user or drug dealer.

31 posted on 02/05/2014 5:52:09 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: Ken H

Ken, how much dope do you some?

You can’t even follow your own train of thought.


32 posted on 02/05/2014 5:58:13 AM PST by ifinnegan
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To: xzins

To those Faith Leaders who Wrestle Over Growing Support for Marijuana:

MARK 9:50
Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves...

1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.


33 posted on 02/05/2014 6:11:10 AM PST by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.)
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To: Durus

Samuel Adams disagreed with you.


34 posted on 02/05/2014 6:13:32 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: afsnco

I agree. Those who use drugs for legitimate medicinal purposes are fine. Those who use them to manipulate people are in danger of God’s judgment.

Those who use them for recreation are probably being manipulated.

There does seem to me to be a recognition that wine in proper amounts is ok...and that some influence of the wine on the physiology was recognized as OK, unless it went to drunkenness. For example, Jesus made wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.

1 Peter 4:3 KJV For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:


35 posted on 02/05/2014 6:23:28 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: ifinnegan
Ken, how much dope do you some?

I have never somed dope in my whole life. Honest.

36 posted on 02/05/2014 6:29:37 AM PST by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
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To: metmom

Most of the people I know who get high, get high because they enjoy getting high. It’s not to quell pain, it’s to get pleasure.


37 posted on 02/05/2014 6:42:08 AM PST by odawg
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To: Durus
"Romans 13 says that good rulers make good laws for the good of society and that they should be obeyed".

We are a nation born out of rebellion to god then right? I think you are missing the context of "Romans".

Your statement makes no sense unless you think George III qualified as a "good ruler". I don't think many historians would agree with that assessment.

38 posted on 02/05/2014 6:53:05 AM PST by CA Conservative (Texan by birth, Californian by circumstance)
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To: Ken H

I believe you.

When the Bible condemns witchcraft and sorcery it uses the Greek term pharmakeus. It is where were get our term pharmacy.

Mind altering drugs have always been associated with witchcraft and associated practices and beliefs, and still is.


39 posted on 02/05/2014 6:58:19 AM PST by ifinnegan
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To: Durus
Romans 13 doesn't quantify good from bad, nor could it considering it is an epistle to Romans, who could not be considered "good" in any respect towards Christians.

Your argument here is flawed.The epistle to the Romans is addressed to "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:" (Ro. 1:7). So the letter was written to the Christians in Rome at that time, not to the Roman citizenry in general.

40 posted on 02/05/2014 6:59:43 AM PST by CA Conservative (Texan by birth, Californian by circumstance)
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To: odawg

There is an aspect of that, however, most people dealing with addictions and addictive behavior are looking for an escape from the pain. The drugs and alcohol do give the pleasure they are missing.

Those who are emotionally healthy do not need that outlet to cloud their thinking and numb the pain. They enjoy life and get pleasure out of it already without assistance.


41 posted on 02/05/2014 7:01:16 AM PST by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: ifinnegan
Mind altering drugs have always been associated with witchcraft and associated practices and beliefs, and still is.

What does that have to do with secular prohibition laws? Are those not the province of Caesar?

42 posted on 02/05/2014 7:11:20 AM PST by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
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To: xzins

I didn’t state an opinion, I asked a question. I’m a firm believer in rebelling against evil even if they are rulers.


43 posted on 02/05/2014 7:19:00 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: Ken H

This is what I mean by your not following your own train of thought.

What was the question you asked? About where in the Bible is drug use condemned.


44 posted on 02/05/2014 7:29:11 AM PST by ifinnegan
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To: CA Conservative
"Your statement makes no sense unless you think George III qualified as a "good ruler". I don't think many historians would agree with that assessment".

Your statement makes no sense as Romans13 does not specify good or bad rulers.

Romans 13 (1-7) Every person should obey the government in power. No government would exist if it hadn’t been established by God. The governments which exist have been put in place by God. 2 Therefore, whoever resists the government opposes what God has established. Those who resist will bring punishment on themselves. 3 People who do what is right don’t have to be afraid of the government. But people who do what is wrong should be afraid of it. Would you like to live without being afraid of the government? Do what is right, and it will praise you. 4 The government is God’s servant working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid. The government has the right to carry out the death sentence. It is God’s servant, an avenger to execute God’s anger on anyone who does what is wrong. 5 Therefore, it is necessary for you to obey, not only because you’re afraid of God’s anger but also because of your own conscience. 6 That is also why you pay your taxes. People in the government are God’s servants while they do the work he has given them. 7 Pay everyone whatever you owe them. If you owe taxes, pay them. If you owe tolls, pay them. If you owe someone respect, respect that person. If you owe someone honor, honor that person.

45 posted on 02/05/2014 7:32:16 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: xzins

I’m only a lay person, but I’m greatly concerned about this too.


46 posted on 02/05/2014 7:46:42 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: CA Conservative

I fail to see the flaw sorry. While they might be Christian Romans they are still Romans and everything Paul wrote has to be filtered through that context.


47 posted on 02/05/2014 7:53:12 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: xzins

Agreed. Wine is obviously not prohibited. The Apostle Paul encouraged its use too:

1Ti 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

It’s wine in excess that’s forbidden.


48 posted on 02/05/2014 7:53:58 AM PST by afsnco
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To: Durus

The word is from “pharmakon” which means “a drug, that is, a spell-giving potion.” It appears to me that all recreational drugs fall into this category. They produce an altered state of consciousness. These “potions” leave their users “spellbound.” That’s why drinking alcohol to drunkenness is also forbidden.


49 posted on 02/05/2014 8:07:42 AM PST by afsnco
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To: chris37

Certainly seems to be the case. Indecision on obvious topics; I can see this for seculars, but then for the clergy!!??


50 posted on 02/05/2014 8:20:23 AM PST by SgtHooper (If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.)
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