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Moody drops alcohol, tobacco ban for employees comment (0)

October 3, 2013

Chicago — The Chicago-based evangelical Moody Bible Institute has dropped its ban on alcohol and tobacco consumption by its 600-some faculty and staff, including for those who work in its radio and publishing arms.

The change in August reflected a desire to create a “high trust environment that emphasizes values, not rules,” spokeswoman Christine Gorz said. Employees must adhere to all “biblical absolutes,” Gorz said, but on issues where the Bible is not clear, Moody leaves it to employees’ conscience.

Employees may not drink on the job or with Moody students, who are not allowed to drink while in school.

Ten years ago in suburban Chicago, Wheaton College lifted the ban on student dancing and now allows faculty, staff and graduate students to drink, though not on campus. Other schools, including Huntington University in Huntington, Ind., and Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., have changed their stances on employees and drinking in the past five years, said Jennifer Woodruff Tait, managing editor of Christian History Magazine.

Forty percent of evangelical leaders said they “socially drink alcohol,” according to a 2010 survey of evangelical leaders conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals. In a survey of mostly Southern Baptists, the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay Research found that 29 percent of Southern Baptist congregants drink alcohol, compared with 3 percent of Southern Baptist pastors. 

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