On Friday, June 17, 2011, the Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns, headed by Willis Moore, presented a resolution to the Annual Conference of the North Georgia United Methodist Church about Sunday alcohol sales. The resolution spoke against buying Budweiser on Sunday, but not exactly in those words. Here are the reasons stated in the resolution:
- bills to extend alcohol sales one more day (Sunday) have been presented to the Georgia General Assembly at dizzying speeds in the past year.
- proponents of Sunday sales have used crass humor, denigration and mockery to characterize this matter as a narrow religious holiday issue.
- the issue is broader and deeper than just one faith or religion because not all religious groups celebrate on Sundays, but almost all religious groups agree about the potential destruction that alcohol can cause to families and society.
- Sunday sales exacerbate the problem of binge drinking because it extends weekend drinking hours.
- increased tax revenue and business opportunities appear to be the sole reasons for adding an extra day of alcohol sales.
- strong, reliable research indicates health, public safety and economic factors as substantiation and reasonable bases for opposing an extra day of sales.
The argument appears on the surface to be a little silly. What does it really matter if we sell alcohol one more day? If a product is legal to sell, shouldn’t we be able to sell it 24/7, 365 days a year? This is a free country after all, right? Personally, I think the best arguments for Sunday sales are rooted in political and constitutional discourse about free enterprise and freedom of choice. From those perspectives there is room to change the current laws.
However, if we want to argue from the perspective of spirituality, morality, or financial well-being then I think we should leave the laws as they are. It is healthy for use to have a day where we do not sell alcohol. I believe that there are two important reasons to keep the laws as they exist. One - spiritually and morally, let’s agree that moderation is the only path to enjoy alcohol without harm to ourselves and others. Limiting sales to one day a week confirms the need for moderation. Two – financially, although alcohol sales can create jobs and tax revenues, the back side of such progress can be devastating to communities and families if the ideal of moderation is not maintained. Besides, is there really going to be an economic windfall for liquor stores, bars, and the wine isle at Publix if Sunday alcohol sales are allowed?
I voted yes to the resolution because it appears to be the healthiest stance to take in regards to communities and families. One day without the ability to purchase communicates to everyone that the need for moderation is real and constantly present in our lives. The Annual Conference of the North Georgia United Methodist Church also voted yes. Not to try to dictate behavior, that’s not our nature, but to keep a healthy and noble law in place.