That isn’t a lighthearted jab at those who disagreed with the councils’ decisions. It’s merely a to-the-point fact about concerns that these two Calhoun County cities would rue the day they allowed legal sales of alcohol on the day many local residents attend worship services. There has been no noticeable spike in alcohol-related crimes on Sundays in Anniston since the laws were passed, according to Police Capt. Allen George.
That information was included in Star reporter Brian Anderson’s lengthy examination of the divide between those who oppose alcohol sales and those who welcome it. Anderson’s story showed that Calhoun County’s version of the Temperance Movement hasn’t subsided: Alcohol sales opponents, particularly those who oppose it from a biblical or moral standpoint, remain staunch in their viewpoints.
Their views shouldn’t be discounted. Like virtually anything used to excess, alcohol can be man’s downfall. The Rev. Donnie Sills, pastor of West Weaver Baptist Church, was right when he told The Star that concerns over alcohol use isn’t only a “one-day issue.” We fully respect Sills’ opinion, and that of others who agree with him, in the concerns about those who suffer because of their drinking habits.
Prohibitionist debate, whether from the pulpit or the home, isn’t based merely on societal or religious concerns. It also frets over drinkers’ health — concerns of addiction, of alcoholism-related ailments, of possible death. Those concerns are real and monumental, Sunday sales or not.
However, our position on Anniston and Weaver’s decisions to allow Sunday sales hasn’t changed. From a secular point of view — a governmental point of view — seven-day-a-week alcohol sales is simply good business. Particularly for Anniston, allowing Sunday sales puts the city’s restaurants and tourism interests on a better playing field with those in Atlanta, Birmingham or elsewhere within a short drive.
It was foolish to think that people in Anniston or Weaver who enjoy a beer or glass of wine weren’t drinking on Sundays. They just couldn’t do it at their favorite restaurant or bar or buy it at the grocery.
Retaining Victorian-like blue laws serves Anniston’s City Hall or its business interests no worthwhile purpose in 2013. It’s time to accept modernity.
The problem isn’t alcohol itself, with or without Sunday sales. America’s tried that, and it failed. Today, it’s still imperative that we preach moderation and mature drinking habits and reinforce the stupidity of impaired driving and drinking to excess. That is where we should focus.