Sunday Alcohol Sales: Yes Or No?

For years, there have been laws on the books of many states across the country concerning the sale of beer and wine on Sunday…..namely, that they can’t do it. For as many years, the common wisdom was simply accepted that alcohol wasn’t served because Sunday was considered a holy day for so many, and to allow such would be in some manner sacrilegious or disrespectful.

The Christian Coalition has long been one of the most vocal opponents of Sunday liquor sales, with president Jerry Luguire making the statement that there should be at least one day a week where people “don’t have to buy alcohol.” As though there were other days of the week where people DO have to buy alcohol. The idea seems to be that alcohol sales are fine Monday through Saturday, but that it should be curtailed on Sunday out of respect for the Christian Sabbath.

Now for the record, this author is a conservative Christian, does not drink, and comes from a small town where everything, not just alcohol sales, closed down on Sunday. That being said, I still find a number of issues with this particular subject:

1) Let’s be honest, there isn’t a Christian among us whose life is going to be drastically altered if somebody buys a six pack of Bud at the Kroger down the street at the same time your choir is singing “How Great Thou Art”.

2) Restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol on Sundays. The only difference in purchasing alcohol at a store vs. a restaurant is that in one case somebody pours it and brings it to you.

3) I would submit that alcohol sales at restaurants (allowed on Sundays) are more dangerous, because people can have one too many and have to drive home. I’d feel much better about the guy buying his brew at the store and taking it home to imbibe.

4) The common battle cry among my conservative brethren is that we need to keep the Sabbath holy, or at least special. When you consider that these are the same people I see crowding restaurants, malls, and movie theatres on Sunday afternoons, their cries for holiness and “remember the Sabbath” begin to sound hollow.

5) The Christian Coalition points to the fact that government agencies are closed on Sunday, as if that somehow justifies the prohibition of alcohol sales on the same day. The purchase of alcohol is the buying of a commercial product by private individuals. No other commercial product is prohibited from being sold on Sunday.

6) Sunday sales would also generate an additional 5-7% in tax revenues.

7) One of the common arguments made against Sunday liquor sales is the possibility of alcohol related accidents. The fact is, states that have repealed their Blue Laws have reported zero negative impact such as drunk driving or underage drinking after adopting Sunday sales.

8 ) I’m all for remembering the Sabbath Day and keeping it holy, but what about those Christian denominations such as Seventh Day Adventists, who worship on Saturday?

I live I Georgia, which is one of three states that still prohibit Sunday alcohol sales. There may have been a time, culturally or socially, where this was acceptable, but not anymore. The economic upside to rolling back this law cannot be ignored, and it is time for the Christian Coalition to realize that not everybody shares the same morality, or even the same convictions on given subjects.

Our society has changed, for better or worse is a matter of opinion. Sunday is now the second busiest shopping day of the year, with people driving business to malls, stores, restaurants, etc. And yet the liquor stores have to sit out and lose the benefit of that day because of an archaic law.

At the end of the day, there is no logical reason to oppose the sale of alcohol on Sunday. We cannot legislate morality, nor can we insist that our values be shared by those who do not subscribe to the same value system. The time to overturn this law has more than come. And I will gladly raise a glass (of tea!) in celebration when it does.

Online version

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