TV evangelist Pat Robertson’s latest comments in favor of marijuana legalization don’t seem likely to be met with a huge rush of support from other evangelicals.
The well-known media figure, one-time GOP presidential candidate and minister made comments Wednesday to the New York Times that echo — and amplify — previous statements he’s made about how the war on drugs has been unsuccessful. Marijuana, he said this week, should be treated legally like alcohol; offenders are wrongly locked up with violent criminals, he said.
In this Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010 file picture, Rev. Pat Robertson talks to attendees at a prayer breakfast as part of inaugural ceremonies for Virginia Gov.-elect Bob Mcdonnell at the Capitol in Richmond, Va.
But some broad surveys show evangelicals generally don’t agree with him. A Pew survey about American views on marijuana legalization from 2010 showed that while 41 percent of Americans overall support it, 25 percent of white evangelicals do. Forty-two percent of Catholics and mainline Protestant support legalization.
The news this week was met by evangelical magazine Christianity Today with this headline: “Pat Robertson Thinks It’s High Time To Legalize Marijuana.”
Well-known evangelical blogger Brett McCracken, managing editor of Biola Magazine at Biola University, said young evangelicals “laugh at Robertson,” as a caricature of an evangelist and wouldn’t see him as a role model, even if their cohort would be expected to be more open to legalizing drugs.
Views on the use of medical marijuana among American evangelicals, however, are varied.