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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.

Evangelicals played a leading role in the banning of alcohol in the United States during the Prohibition era. "Alcohol and its effects have been a major challenge in American
society," said NAE President Leith Anderson in a statement accompanying the
survey results.

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
NAE's Sarah Kropp said. She declined to say how many surveys were returned.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Food

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. LED Grow Light ·

    of course alcohol abuse is very dangerous to the health, it can cause cirrhosis and other bad effects ~

    November 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  2. Melatonin Supplement 

    alcholo abuse on the long run is very dangerous and can kill you.'*

    October 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  3. Riley Carter

    alchohol abuse would always lead to liver cancer if not properly treated .

    August 11, 2010 at 3:46 am |
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    It was rather interesting for me to read the article. Thank author for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more on this blog soon.

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    July 17, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  5. mikep84

    All this debate is making me thirsty. I need a beer! ;D

    July 1, 2010 at 3:58 am |
  6. david

    I love it when people especially christians blame other things like drink for there eviil, sinful natures sounds like adam and eve all over again. It was the drink that caused me to abuse whatever

    July 1, 2010 at 1:50 am |
  7. Justin V

    The moon, women and wine all have caused men (and women) to "stumble". Should we then blot out the moon, haul off the women and revert to prohibition?

    Just because there is abuse doesn't mean we should throw out the baby with the bath water.

    And for you Christians, (outside of personal determinations) is it not better to be a redemptive force in our culture than a separatist who offers no hope to anyone except himself whilst doling out the judgement? I believe we should see through tradition and our "bubbles" and thoroughly examine a subject before opening our keyboards upon an innocent (shallow and incomplete albeit) survey result...

    Just a thought.

    Cheers Mates

    July 1, 2010 at 1:29 am |
  8. mivnyuas yau kab

    I meant alcohol, lol.

    June 30, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  9. mivnyuas yau kab

    Hmm.. I think that if you know you are going to be tempted with alchohol, then it's best that you avoid. If you have completely control over what you do, then I think it's fine. Although I believe that you should be careful with what and who you are with because you may stumble the younger one to fall.

    June 30, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  10. Joe

    Evangelical leaders may not drink, but they drive me to.

    June 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  11. AIMEE MCGOVERN

    Actually in the bible is doesn't state anywhere that you shouldnt drink, but it does state not to do it in excess. Forgive me it has been many years since I have read the bible, and I don't remember the exact quote. So God thought it was peachy to drink, but not to the point of being drunk.

    June 26, 2010 at 9:24 am |
    • waitasec

      typical christian rhetoric, can't give exact quote BUT knows it's there somewhere
      all you do is hide behind the bible to justify your biases...ANYTHING done in "excess" isn't healthy. here's a tip; get a passport, 'cause I know you don't have one, and travel a bit, if you can't afford it, go to your local (socialistic) library and learn how the rest of the world lives

      June 26, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • ybs

      "but not to the point of being drunk."

      god instructed us to create the "Alcohol Breath Analyzers!" ooohhhh... how subtle! 🙂

      June 26, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
  12. Thorrsman

    Don't DRINK? Now I understand so much about them.

    June 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  13. Ficheye

    I guess that Jesus was in a twelve step program during the 'lost years'. That explains it perfectly. He was totally drunk for over 25 years... then he found his 'higher power', made amends to all of those that he had treated poorly, etc., etc., and then he fell off the wagon at the last supper. You know the rest.

    June 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  14. hasc

    So, Patricia, are you saying that Jesus would turn water into wine so others could commit a sin that he would never commit? And did He just give the wine to the desciples at the last supper? Did Jesus not eat and drink with sinners? I am not saying our Saviour was a drunk. I am saying that we Christians should not misrepresent God's word with absurd statements. The relationship between alcohol and man in the bible is full of contradictions, even going back to Noah who fell down naked and drunk in the presence of his sons.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • Ego

      Didn't the Pharisee's call Jesus a drunkard?

      June 25, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
  15. BrankoB

    Alcohol is deadly

    June 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • Sgstuck

      So is virtually every medicine (and any substance I can imagine, really) if used the wrong way.

      June 25, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  16. em

    last line: 'She declined to say how many surveys were returned."

    Then there is nothing to report. Mailed surveys typically have a low rate of return. She only mailed 112. There is no way, based on the information available, to determine whether this study has any statistical significance but, given the small sample it is doubtful that it does.

    No story here.

    June 25, 2010 at 9:09 am |
    • illlisten

      agreed.

      June 25, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  17. Patricia Switcher

    In Romans 14:21 it says It is good neither to eat flesh, nor drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended or is made weak. also in Proverbs 20 ;1 It says Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. so I think the Bible is saying to us that we are not to drink of strong drinks or wine I believe that God intended for us to drink the juice of the fruit but that the juice was not to be fermited which is what makes the difference between wine and juice. I'll not argue that the Bible did say Jesus turned the water into wine. but it does not say that Jesus drank that wine .

    June 25, 2010 at 8:24 am |
    • IFishWhenICan

      Jesus said, "take and drink." Are you trying to tell me when he broke bread an took the cup that it wasn't wine in that cup? Come on!

      June 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  18. Panco

    Most drunks find jesus at the bottom of a bottle of Cutty Sark, so take that religious twaddle with a grain of salt.

    June 25, 2010 at 6:32 am |
  19. Brian

    It's cool, thier choice. More for the rest of us to drink.

    June 24, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
  20. Tamantha

    And yes, Jesus also turned water into wine. And he did it when they ran out at the wedding, and his mother asked him to do something about it, for the party! And he did it when many were already "well drunik." He must be an enabler, lol.

    June 24, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.