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Meet Baptist Ministers in Colorado Preaching Against Pot

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The critics of Colorado's marijuana laws who tend to get the most attention are those operating in the political realm.

An example is Smart Colorado's Diane Carlson, who's been leading the push to stamp marijuana edibles with a stop sign.

But as a recent article in the Baptist Press demonstrates, some faith leaders have problems with Colorado's progressive pot policy, too.

The piece, headlined "Colo. marijuana legalization taking a toll," uses as its hook a news item that's not exactly new — a "Colorado 'church'" that "is pushing for its mountain town of 1,500 to become the nation's first 'sanctuary' for 'therapeutic and spiritual users of cannabis'."

That would be Closer to the Heart Ministry in Nederland, which we told you about in January.

Adds the article: "Baptist pastors in Colorado, however, see no safe haven from recreational marijuana's toll since its legalization on Jan. 1, 2014."

Among the church leaders quizzed for the piece is Charlie Jones, senior pastor for Fellowship of the Rockies church in Pueblo.

Fellowship of the Rockies is a large facility, as indicated by this Facebook video, showing the main worship space being readied for Easter services earlier this year.

However, the tone of the material on this page and the main site isn't particularly stodgy or old-fashioned.

Note this hip-hop-oriented Facebook clip intended to remind church-goers of a time change, so they wouldn't miss services.

But Jones definitely isn't down with the increased accessibility of marijuana in Pueblo.

"People have moved to Colorado because of the legalization of marijuana, and then they have stressed the food pantries and homeless shelters and things like that," he maintains.

Jones adds that marijuana has even made incursions into Fellowship functions.

"If churches have life groups in homes, they have to say they don't want alcohol or marijuana served," he allows. "Churches have to cover that with host homes. Even though it is legal, that is not acceptable for us.

"Scripture talks about the difference between a good decision and a best decision," he goes on. "There's a difference between a permissible decision and a responsible decision."

Equally anti-cannabis is Michael Morgan, teaching pastor of Wellspring Denver Community Church, located in Aurora.

If not more so.

"In church we're seeing more that we are strangers, exiles and aliens," he tells the Baptist Press.

"We've seen it move from a hobby for people to something that they do all day long," he goes on. "It begins to infiltrate all of life. It becomes more addictive. I never see people quit," he allows.

That sounds bad — but the article suggests that "complications from recreational marijuana may also stir a new focus within the church."

"We're not the moral majority, but we're the missional minority," Morgan is quoted as saying.

As for that mission, it is "to exalt and glorify Jesus and help others come into a relationship with Jesus and be transformed by the power of the Gospel," Morgan emphasizes. "The mission has never been about pot or curbing any other immorality."

Immoral? That's debatable. But legal? Definitely.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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