(William Thornton is the “SBC Plodder” and shares his perspective on SBC and cultural issues. This post seemed like one that SBC Voices readers might like to discuss. Discuss amongst yourselves!)
Would someone with above plodder intelligence please make a cogent case for or against Sunday sales of alcohol here in Georgia?
At the moment the legislature in our fair state is in session, always a dangerous time for freedom-loving, sensible and hardworking taxpayers, and will probably pass a bill making Sunday sales of alcohol a local option, allowing a county or municipality to put the question up for a ballot.
Did I mention that you can buy alcohol on Sundays in Georgia, just not in stores?
That’s right. You can go to a restaurant and tank up all you want, a bottle or glass at a time. You just can’t go to Publix and take a six pack to the counter and pay for it. If you do the checker will likely ask, “You’re not from around here, are you?
Baptists are officially against the bill which would allow communities to decide for themselves. We are, however, proudly locking arms with the liquor store trade association in opposition to the bill. The liquor lobby is against the bill because their retail outlets don’t want to open their stores on Sundays because of the extra work and expense.
Ah, the Georgia Baptist Convention and the Georgia Alcohol Dealers Association, locking arms on this one. Isn’t that cute. A marriage made in, well, made of political convenience.
Grocery and convenience stores, already open on Sundays, are lobbying heavily in favor of it. One store spokesman said that 25% of their customers shop on Sundays and 10% shop only on Sundays. One wonders what to say to the latter group, “It offends my religious views for you to be able to buy beer on the only day you go grocery shopping. Deal with it.”
And did I mention that Georgia is one of only three states who ban Sunday retail sales? Connecticut and Indiana prohibit them. The other forty-seven states have no such laws.
The Georgia Baptist Convention has a paid lobbyist who calls this “encroachment on the Lord’s Day” an understandable sentiment and probably the only argument he has, although the term “encroachment” may be about three generations behind the curve on Lord’s Day activities. Sunday as a different day has been non-existent in this state for decades. There is very little a Georgian cannot do on Sunday, save buy a bottle of wine at a convenience store.
We’ve always just been against any and all alcohol sales and consumption. I’m just asking is at what point we decide it is inappropriate to use the power of the state to restrict others in the name of our religious sensitivities? Does our Georgia Baptist lobbyist have reasons aside from “encroach[ment]” on the Lord’s Day?
When I asked a friend this question, he replied that why should we worry about using political power when the liberals and leftists don’t hesitate to use it? Hardly a convincing argument. Anecdotal evidence has been offered that drunk drivers kill people on Sunday afternoons, although drunk driving is illegal on any day of the week.
And can anyone make a decent argument that local communities, in a state where the majority of citizens favor such freedoms, should not even have the opportunity to put the question to their own citizens? I’d like to hear what should be told to the social drinking grocery shopper who, because of their schedule, only shops on Sundays.
I’m just asking questions. Someone make the case.
The truth here is that the Christian organizations are offering only desultory opposition. The governor, a teetotaling Baptist, has said he would sign it. I give our folks credit for recognizing reality.