Just Say Yes: In Drugs We Trust

Gary Laderman Anyone interested in the new frontiers of American religion should pay attention to how Americans love to say yes to their drugs.

7 Questions for Anthony Petro

I wanted to write something about religion and sexuality for my doctoral work, but I never thought about writing on religion and the AIDS crisis until I watched a film by Gregg Bordowitz, an artist and professor at the Art Institute of Chicago. . . . One of the scenes featured a gay black man standing at a microphone, describing how horrendous the AIDS crisis was at the time – in the 1980s – and then he spoke about God. Not in a negative way, but as a positive force, as a source of grace, even for gay men with AIDS.

Holy Smoke

By Shalom Goldman Since the 1960s many in America’s alternative religious communities have embraced the use of marijuana and other mind-altering substances in their religious rituals. By hearkening back to Native American rites, these religious practitioners can point to a long tradition of American spirituality that had its religious experiences enhanced by intoxicants. With very few exceptions, federal law is reluctant to let these groups possess what are considered under American law “controlled substances.” Thus their religious practices are criminalized like all other uses of cannabis. Among the more flamboyant groups trying to change this situation are the various “cannabis churches,” […]