Why no alcohol sales on Sundays?

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By Moreland Jeff

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
- The First Amendment,
Constitution of the United States of America

The sale of alcohol in small communities often brings about a great debate. When the discussion turns toward the sale of alcohol on Sundays, the debate can get much more interesting. That has been the case as the sale of alcohol on Sundays at the Campbellsville Country Club, as well as potentially at local restaurants on Sundays, has been in the news, and you’ve probably read about it right here in the pages of the News-Journal.

If you’ve been following the story, you know that the Campbellsville City Council recently approved the sale of alcohol at the country club on Sundays, by a narrow margin of a 6-5 vote. As for local restaurants, they were denied the opportunity to sell alcohol on Sundays, again by a narrow margin of a 5-6 vote.

As I begin to share my opinion on the topic, let me also share my faith. I am a Christian, and I believe in God and his word as it is presented to us in the Holy Bible. I am also a journalist, and I believe in the freedom of the press as it is provided in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Another part of the First Amendment is the separation of church and state. It seems any time an issue arises that involves the topics of government and religion, we hear people cry out about the separation of church and state.

“You can’t do that. It’s against my religion,” some will say. Others will claim, “The government doesn’t need to be involved with religion.” In many cases, both can be right. People have the right to not have their religious views infringed upon, and our government is supposed to operate without being influenced by religion. However, that’s not always the way things are done.

For years, I’ve heard different communities in which I’ve lived, in Kentucky and other states, talk about alcohol sales, and especially whether alcohol sales should be allowed on Sundays. People argue that Sunday is a holy day, and alcohol should not be sold on that day because it is God’s day.

If you are a Christian, you can definitely see that point of view, and you might share it.

But if you are not a Christian, you might see things differently, and that’s your right. My opinion, however, is one that some of you might not agree with, but it’s how I feel.

Should we allow Sunday alcohol sales? Sure.

I can hear the questions now: “But aren’t you a Christian, and don’t you think of Sunday as a holy day?” Sure I do. But as an American, I realize everyone doesn’t feel the same way I do and they don’t share my views. And as an American, I realize I can’t force my views, especially based on my religion, on my fellow Americans who might not feel the same way.

My thought is that we all have our rights, and with alcohol being a legal substance, it should be as legal on one day as it is the next. My question, especially to any elected official who says Sunday sales should not be allowed, is, what is your reason? If it’s because Sunday is a holy day, that’s fine for your opinion, but you can’t use that reasoning when it comes to making a law for a city, county, state or nation.

Sunday alcohol package sales, such as buying a case of beer or bottle of wine, are currently not allowed in many communities that permit sales on the other six days of the week. In Taylor County, package sales are not allowed at all. But the fact is, if people want to drink beer or other alcoholic drinks on Sunday, they’ll simply go out and buy them on Saturday.

I know some of you will argue that alcohol destroys lives, and I’ll tell you that you’re correct. It often does destroy lives, for both the person who drinks, as well as the people around them who might not drink. But is one more day of alcohol sales per week going to change that? Of course not.

People have free will, and if alcohol is legal to purchase, there will always be those who cannot control themselves. It’s no different  with fast food or other potential problems for people. There are folks out there who can’t resist driving through a fast food restaurant and grabbing a double cheeseburger or a large order of fries. They’ll wash that down with a large soft drink, and they’ll do it multiple times each day. Is it a good idea? No, but you can’t legislate common sense.

That fast food, just like alcohol, is a legal purchase in our country, and if people want to do it badly enough, there’s nothing we can do to change their minds. We can’t stop them with warnings, we can’t stop them with ad campaigns, and we certainly shouldn’t try to stop them by using our religious views to limit their behavior, on Sunday or any other day.