Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Spirited Debate, But Not A Spiritual Issue

If you live in Georgia and think you ought to be able to buy wine on Sunday for your communion service (or beer for your evangelistic barbecue), you can sign a petition online asking legislators to approve a bill that would allow the people in each county/city to vote on whether to allow such sales. The petition is here. It takes about 60 seconds.
As I write this, there are 5400 signatures. That's up from about 3000 yesterday.

For some reason, our governor, lieutenant governor, several key legislators, and quite a number of evangelicals seem to think society will collapse if people can buy alcohol on Sunday afternoon. 47 other states have found otherwise.

If you were reading my blog a year ago, you know why I don't think Sunday alcohol sales is a religious issue. Rather than rehash everything, I'll just give you the link to my previous post, if you're interested.


  1. Just signed it
    5750 signatures...

  2. i heard that liquor store owners are actually opposed to this, Georgians aren't used to shopping on Sundays so they don't think they will, and it cuts overhead cost by being closed one day a week, anyway... have you heard this???

  3. Yes,the liquor store owners are opposed, because they would have to open their stores on Sundays in order to stay competitive. Otherwise, everyone will be at Trader Joe's on Sunday stocking up.

  4. I don't understand people who can't plan ahead on their alcohol purchases to be done during the week or by Saturday.

    Doesn't everyone keep a few bottles of wine or a six pack of beer around for "emergencies" like I do?

    Or in the worst case scenario, would grape juice or lemonade be all that bad?

    Because, as a drug, and one that can have as devastating effects on society as crystal meth, why shouldn't the state do more to control sales of alcohol? Hell, I say, do more than ban sales on Sundays. That should only be the tip of the iceberg. The states are too lily livered to really take a stand against a problem as real as alcohol abuse.

    Since alcoholism has affected my family, my husband's family and many families I've known, I really don't care about someone feeling inconvenienced on a Sunday.

    Sign away.

    But what would you suggest about dealing with the very real problems alcohol causes in the world?

  5. "Plan ahead" is the same thing our governor said. The same governor who did nothing to deal with our water situation until it became a crisis. The same one who's done nothing to deal with Atlanta's traffic issues. The same one who . . .

    If we grant that alcohol is a drug, there are still significant differences between it and crystal meth. Legality, for one. The level of addictiveness, for another. And the fact that alcoholic beverages are often consumed for reasons other than intoxication (can you say "heart health"?) but crystal meth never is.

    If the issue is that some people misuse alcohol or get addicted to it, that issue has no bearing on whether alcohol should be available for purchase on Sunday. Alcohol purchased on Sunday is no more dangerous or addictive than alcohol purchased on one of the other 6 days of the week.

    The issue is that alcohol beverages are legal in Georgia. They are not classified as controlled substances (like narcotics, for example). They are the ONLY item that grocery stores (and the like) can sell 6 days out of the week, but not 7. The only reason given for this is that certain evangelicals/fundamentalists don't think alcohol should be sold on Sunday. Their position is nonsensical and inconsistent.

    The purpose of my blog entry was not to solve society's ills regarding alcohol misuse. Sunday prohibitions do nothing to solve the problem, anyway.

  6. Update: There are now 23,200 signature on the petition.

    That's 20,000 signatures added in 2 days. I had no idea my blog was so influential!

  7. "An estimated 17,600,00 American adults (8%) meet standard diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder* and approximately 4,200,000 (2%) meet criteria for a drug use disorder. Overall, about one-tenth (9.4 percent) of American adults, or 19.4 million persons, meet clinical criteria for a substance use disorder--either an alcohol or drug use disorder or both--according to results from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) reported in the current Archives of General Psychiatry [Volume 61, August 2004: 807-816]."


    If that is right, then alcohol is a bigger problem than drugs. And for every alcoholic, there is a ripple effect in their families, friendships and workplaces. No one is an island, what affects an alcoholic may eventually affect you.

    Yes, I agree that the ban on Sunday sales is not going to fix the damage that alcohol creates. But it is interesting that it is only one of very few restrictions on alcohol at all.

    And we all know that just because something is legal doesn't mean it shouldn't be regulated or controlled.

    Your governor apparently has problems with dealing with the water crisis and the traffic crisis, are there petitions out there to force him to address those issues as well? And how is that going?

  8. Like you, I don't have a lot of time to carefully craft arguments for a blog debate. And the tone I might have has more to do with trying to keep words at a crisp minimum, not because I'm trying to be terse or because I am angry.

    But I am concerned about us believers getting away from considering that the freedoms, or liberty if you will, that we possess also come with a responsibility towards those with weaker consciences or vulnerablilites. We are a Body with people who deal with addictions, too.

    And since that was drilled into me as a young college believer, (as you well know, dealing what to do with dancing, what women should or should not wear and rock and roll music and ad nauseum) it strikes me that we don't talk about those things as much anymore.

    And you know that I am no legalist. I unfortunately drift towards the other extreme, and having to deal with the consequences of that from time to time, often painfully.

    So, the only thing I really want to say is that although we are free to buy a beer on a Sunday, what responsibilities do we have and repercussions are we blind to?

    There is not enough time in the world to talk about this properly, but I just wanted to get that out there, even though my past attempts were less than effective.