June 24th, 2010
12:32 PM ET
Most U.S. evangelical leaders don't drink, survey finds
Sixty percent of evangelical Christian leaders say they don't drink alcohol socially, citing reasons as diverse as the words of St. Paul, the desire to be a good leader and a history of alcoholism in the family, according to a survey by the National Association of Evangelicals released Thursday.
There is no prohibition on drinking alcohol in the Bible, but "as an example to family and those I serve, I like Paul's words, 'It is better not to,'" said Gary Benedict, president of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, citing Romans 14:21.
Four out of 10 evangelical leaders said they do drink alcohol socially, but many added comments such as "in moderation," "never in excess," "on special occasions," "occasionally," "rarely" and "infrequently."
Some specifically noted that out of sensitivity to those who might be offended, they drink only with those who share similar views on alcohol consumption, the NAE said.
About 66 percent of American adults drink alcohol, according to 2001-2002 figures from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The findings on church leaders come from the monthly Evangelical Leaders Survey, a poll of the board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. They include the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations, including missions, universities, publishers and churches.
The survey was sent to all 112 members of the board of directors, the
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Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work. According to Gelder, Mayou & Geddes (2005) alcohol abuse is linked with suicide. They state the risk of suicide is high in older men who have a history of drinking, as well as those suffering from depression.
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