Pastor Gary Dull opposes Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfâ€™s concession to state voters who want marijuana legalized, the governor saying he now favors it. Pastor Dullâ€™s response to Governor Wolfâ€™s decision offers the usual inaccuracies about marijuana while adding his own religious views on drugs:
â€œAs a pastor for more than 45 years and serving a church in Altoona for nearly 25 years, I have seen many people agonize over using and abusing marijuana,â€ Dull said. â€œI believe it is a great mistake to legalize the narcotic for recreational use for several reasons.â€ [â€¦]
“I make efforts to uphold biblical teaching, and the Bible tells us to avoid anything that may ‘master’ our bodies (1 Cor. 6:12). Most of us know someone who has ruined their life through addictive drugs. Families have been broken, jobs have been lost and lives have even been taken as a result of the use of addictive drugs. Additionally, most people recognize that marijuana is an ‘entrance’ or ‘gateway’ drug that has the great potential to lead to more serious drug use and abuse.” [â€¦]
“Various studies have shown that students who used marijuana regularly are less likely to finish high school and go on to higher education than those who do not use the drug,” he said. “This results in future generations that may be less educated and unequipped to teach and lead their families to a more educated and higher-quality lifestyle. Less education and a lower-quality lifestyle contribute to many negative elements in society.” [â€¦]
“In the Bible,” he said, “the word used for the administering of drugs is the Greek word pharmakeia, which in some passages is translated to ‘witchcraft’ (Gal. 5:20) and ‘sorceries’ (Rev. 9:21). Thus, the Word of God makes a clear connection between drugs and the occult, implying that the unwise use of certain recreational drugs can lead to having the minds of the users open to wickedness and demonic activity. And that always guarantees a negative effect upon drug users as well as society in general.â€
Recently appointed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has been applauded by various Christian groups for his applications of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. While on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Gorsuch dissented in Little Sisters vs. Burwell where the court found their religious freedom hadnâ€™t been unduly burdened. Gorsuch favored the Hobby Lobby vs. Sibellius decision complicating birth control options. â€œYet he won’t allow the religious liberty law to be used as an excuse for all behavior. In United States vs. Quaintance, he rejected drug smugglers’ claims that their marijuana distribution was motivated by religious belief as insincere and thus not protected by the statute.â€
This Halloween season many Christians, wiccans, witches, pagans, humanists, and other smart, open-minded citizens will smoke weed for fun and relaxation. Will religious freedom protect them from persecution? Or will Gary Dull and Neil Gorsuch burn autumn festival goers at the stake?