The past two years have been good to hard-drinking disciples. Pope Francis famously declared wine a necessity in 2016, and former Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 90th birthday with a beer and bretzels in August, 2017. Only one beer in recorded history received an actual blessing from the pope.
alcohol in religion
Catholic churches need wine. It’s written in the Code of Canon Law that uncorrupted grape wine be served during communion. But sacramental wine is more than just fermented juice; it’s a stand-in for the blood of Christ and his sacrifice. And in America, the history of this sacred wine, and the destiny of those who make it, was ironically shaped […]
”From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.” Amen. If you’re at all acquainted with the Catholic Church, you’ll know it doesn’t shy away from alcohol. From the use of wine in the Mass itself to the many generous monasteries that brewed, and lived upon, and generously shared so many vats of beer, the […]
Good news if you identify with Viking religious beliefs (and it turns out a bunch of people in Iceland actually do): when you die, assuming you lived a pillaging and conquesting kind of life, you go to Valhalla and get an endless supply of beer. Bad news if you identify with Viking religious beliefs: you’ll […]
Growing up in a Jewish household gifts you have many anecdotes to share at a not strictly kosher – I said strictly, OK? – dinner party. You can talk about the scientific differences between regular best friends and camp best friends, why learning twelve years worth of Hebrew has still left you embarrassingly unilingual, and the […]
Why is it that one can observe a religious Jew filling his cup to the brim with wine on a Friday night, while a religious Muslim wouldn’t be caught dead holding a drink? The world’s three major monotheistic religions have overlapping yet distinct relationships with alcohol. The evolution of alcohol in religion can be traced back […]
When Lebanese winemaker Serge Hochar died last year in a swimming accident, Chateau Musar, the family-owned winery that he ran for most his adult life, was operating in a surprisingly stable environment. ISIS had not yet gained access to the Bekaa Valley, the winery’s location and Lebanon’s foremost wine-producing region. Hezbollah was indeed operating in […]
This past June, I spent time working at an international youth writing workshop in Iowa. The students came from Russia, the U.S., and the Middle East – specifically, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, Bahrain, Oman, Tunisia and Morocco.
Recently, Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of the Orthodox Union (the lead Jewish organization in kosher certification), stated that he had spoken with a handful of medical marijuana companies interested in obtaining an OU stamp of approval for their product. It seems that marijuana is much more likely than bacon to become kosher in the near […]