When you think “cigar” and “famous person,” you probably picture Jay-Z, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, or if you’ve been around the block a bit, maybe even George Burns.
And let’s not forget that one of the most famous portraits of Sigmund Freud shows him unironically holding a cigar—with no hidden meaning, we’re sure.
All those celebs might make it feel like cigars are for the elite. In reality, folks from all walks of life enjoy them…and you’d be surprised to find out that there is a rich tradition of preachers and other “men of God” enjoying a good smoke. And in some cases, we’ve even been able to find out which brands they enjoyed most.
Wait…Is It OK for A Pastor to Smoke Cigars?
Before we dive into our list of famous preachers and churchmen known to enjoy the leaf, let’s be honest: Unless you just happen to be a certain kind of history buff, your search for these cigar-smoking preachers and pastors is probably more about the example they set. Is it okay for a pastor to smoke a cigar every once in a while? Does it send the wrong message? Or is it a harmless indulgence?
We’re not qualified to weigh in on the theological side of things, nor would we want to get something like this wrong. All we can say is, if you are a pastor or church member who has this weighing on your conscience, talk to another pastor you trust to get some insight. If you do that and still feel guilty about a habit of yours, don’t do it.
On the other hand, we know of a good number of preachers who enjoy cigars, and share their passion with others. We’ve even found people forming cigar clubs to form stronger bonds with other fellow churchgoers. So having a pastor, preacher, or other devout person enjoy an occasional cigar is not as rare as one might think.
6 Famous Preachers Who Smoke/d Cigars (that we know of)
Here, then, are three famous cigar-smoking men-of-god, three historical and three living today.
Google any sentence on cigar-smoking preachers and Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892) is going to top your list. A reformed Baptist preacher in 19th-century London, Spurgeon gained the nickname “The Prince of Preachers” for his powerful sermons with wide appeal. But he also had a reputation as a smoker known to enjoy a good cigar now and again.
Once, when a gentleman challenged him about whether a good Christian was allowed to smoke, Spurgeon is said to have replied: “I cultivate my flowers and burn my weeds.” Given the Victorian penchant for grand gardens and fine cigars, Spurgeon was clearly a man of his time.
Spurgeon did create some controversy when newspapers reported him claiming that he “smoked to the glory of God.” But Spurgeon himself explained that the quote was out of context: “No Christian should do anything in which he cannot glorify God; and this may be done, according to Scripture, in eating and drinking and the common actions of life. When I have found intense pain relieved, a weary brain soothed, and calm, refreshing sleep obtained by a cigar, I have felt grateful to God, and have blessed His name.”
What did he smoke? Spurgeon’s grandson has photos of some of his cigars, including Cubans from the Francisco Perez (F.P.) Del Rio y Ca company. That company was eventually absorbed by the maker of the Partagas brand.
William Eugene “Gene” Scott (1929–2005) was a preacher and televagenlist known to smoke cigars regularly—sometimes from the pulpit. Together with his wild hair and beard, he made quite the impression, both over the airwaves and in person.
Gene Scott’s life and his teachings still provoke controversy in some circles—one publication dubbed him the “The Shock Jock of Televangelism.” But it’s clear that, in his calmer moments, Scott enjoyed some of the finer things in life—including a good cigar.
What did he smoke? We couldn’t find what exactly Scott liked to smoke, but given his fiery delivery and otherworldly style, we think he would have preferred something a little more bold, like maybe a Camacho Triple Maduro.
C. S. Lewis
He never led a congregation, but few have done as much to spread the word in modern times as author C. S. Lewis (1898-1963). Though most people know him for The Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis also produced several books and radio broadcasts about his faith. He was also a habitual pipe smoker.
What did he smoke? Yes, there is a world of difference between a pipe and a cigar. But he and fellow author J.R.R. Tolkien (of The Lord of the Rings fame) were good friends and known to enjoy pipes and cigarettes, so we’re willing to bet that they broke out the occasional Montecristo or Cabañas.
With Joe Thorn, we move from historical preachers to those living today and making a splash as influencers in their own right. Joe Thorn is lead pastor of Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles, Illinois, and has been a guest on multiple podcasts, as well as creator of his own. What’s more, Thorn has blogged about his own journey with cigar smoking and how it relates to his faith. While he answers any questions folks have had about the topic, strap in—as it’s a five-parter, and it can get kinda deep.
What does he smoke? As opposed to other preachers, we have straight from Thorn himself what he likes and recommends to others: “…Five of my favorites are Tatuaje’s 10 Yr Anniversary, the Caldwell cigar line (especially The King is Dead, Long Live the King), AVO’s XO, and Padron’s Anniversary 1964…People on a budget (like me) are always on the lookout for a good cigar at a low price [so] Check out the Room 101 Payback (550), the new Punch Signature, Tatuaje’s Tattoo, the Leccia Luchador, and Drew Estate’s Nica Rustica. Buying online saves a lot.”
James Tucker (The Smoking Preacher)
James Tucker is a YouTube personality, branding himself “The Smoking Preacher.” We couldn’t confirm if he was an actual ordained pastor or not, but several of his videos do review cigars, or at least admire the artwork on display on cigar bands. So we feel he deserves to be on the list.
What does he smoke? Gosh, a little of everything! Check out his channel and you’ll find reviews from many major brands. So, in honor of his willingness to try a little of everything, we suggest that interested readers follow in his footsteps with a cigar sampler.
Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church of Moscow (Idaho) can be found in a 2018 video lighting a couch on fire, and then calmly discussing an upcoming blog series while smoking a cigar. Given the way he handles his stick, it’s clear that this wasn’t his first cigar—or his last.
Yeah, Wilson is a controversial figure. But whether you like his approach to church and politics or not, Wilson is another example of a new generation of preachers who enjoy a smoke as they discuss both social and religious issues. Wilson has even written on the topic of smoking.
What does he smoke? We couldn’t find out what Wilson smokes (or smoked) specifically, but the cigar in the video looks a bit like a Macanudo Inspirado Red, so yeah, we’re going with that until someone tells us otherwise.
Can We Help You Find Your Brand?
The Flying Cigar Co. has multiple cigar brands from all over the world. Check out our articles to help find a brand that suits you, or start with a sampler to discover what you like.