This past Friday was April 20 or 4/20. There is a subculture in US in which April 20 is designated as a day to consume marijuana. (Learn more here). People took to public places and online communities to promote the day and ‘celebrate’ in their own fashion. I thought it was quite bold of them to openly and public profess their love and admiration for weed. I guess Snopp Dogg made a career centered around is music and love for pot so why not celebrate it, huh?
Friday afternoon my youngest sister (a college sophomore) posted this tweet.
using a bible verse to make yourself feel better about smoking weed is just plain #pathetic—
Haley Dolive (@haley_dolive11) April 20, 2012
Naturally this peaked my interest. She informed me that people on Facebook were claiming that the Bible promoted the consumption of marijuana. Which Bible did they chose? Genesis 1:29… which reads
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.– NIV (2011)
People in the 420 movement enjoy the more fluid language of the ye ol’ King James Version which reads
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
(They seem to like it because of the word “herb.”)
I’m not trying to insight a debate on the legality or the morality of smoking pot or anything like that, but I do want to open the door up to discussing the use of scripture in this scenario.
It’s no big surprise that Christians from all backgrounds look to the Bible to help them understand God’s interaction in the world. The problem that I have is when the Bible is used in such a narrow sighted way. I don’t see people who use this particular verse to further their pot smoking views rolling up oregano or rosemary and smoking that. No, rather they have found their herb or choice. If this passage is true they all of plants even the ones that cause allergic reactions in people (poision ivy/oak /sumack) should also fall under the umbrella of herbage. Why this one verse, why this one seed-bearing plant?
Generally when people are picking and choosing laws and rules to follow or not to follow in the Old Testament they don’t normally go to Genesis 1:29. Rather they choose something from Leviticus or one of the Ten Commandments. Where is their call to action and celebration about the proper treatment of animals and sacrifice rituals? Where is the party being held about not wearing mixed fiber clothing or not consuming pork or shellfish? Maybe the people at www.godhatesshrimp.com have it right…The Bible has been used for and against every major issue that one can think of so I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised that people have taken to the Bible to promote pot.
To look to the Bible to find a ‘ethical’ way to smoke weed at 4:20pm on 4/20 is a gross misuse of the Bible. Genesis 1 tells of how God created order out of chaos, brought light to the darkness and organized the world into the place it is today. To pluck out one verse for this reason tramples on the story and what it stands for.