There are currently only three states in the good ol’ U. S. of A. that ban take-out sales of beer, wine, and liquor on Sundays. Ironically, I happen to live in one of them: Georgia. The other two are Connecticut and Indiana, but apparently there are repeal movements brewing in these states that look pretty promising. Can’t you just see the new GA license plates now? “Georgia, we’re ranked 47th in the country for SAT scores, and DEAD LAST for repealing prohibition. Yeee-haw!!”
I bring this up because apparently, via the AJC, the Sunday sales bill is dead in the water (again). Senate Republican leaders say it “lacks the support necessary among the majority caucus.”
So great. Connecticut and Indiana, you’re in the clear! We Georgians will happily assume the position of the most back-ass-ward state in the nation.
Not being from these parts, I was surprised when I moved here to learn that I couldn’t buy alcohol on Sundays. I remember once asking the manager at my local Publix if he would turn on the lights in the darkened wine aisle one Sunday afternoon so I could see which box to buy. He looked at me like I was one crazy carpet-bagger, let me tell you.
Some people think this assholiosity is a carryover from the Prohibition era in the early 20th century. But actually, Sunday alcohol sales bans in America date back all the way to the Puritans in the 17th century who created “blue laws” to regulate morality. Makes sense… I mean, they weren’t called Puritans for nothin’. Unlike the crazy kids today who “sext” each other digital pictures of their freshly shorn kibbles and bits. Or is that just my friends?
If you’re like me (God help you), you might be wondering why this is called a blue law. I thought maybe it was because not being able to get your drink on makes some people feel so blue, but that’s not it. Actually, there are a lot of different theories out there about the origin of the term “blue laws,” but most likely (according to Snopes.com) it is derived from an 18th century usage of the word “blue” as a disparaging reference to something perceived as “rigidly moral.” For example, a “bluenose” is one who advocates a rigorous moral code. Not coincidentally, adhering to said rigorous moral codes can often lead to “blue balls” which can then, in turn, spur a “blue streak” of immoral behaviors.
So here we are, hundreds of years later, clinging to this ancient notion of trying to control morality by prohibiting alcohol sales on the Sabbath.
What a f*#king joke.
Obviously, this is a ri-donk-u-lous idea. Come on… we live in a country where Dog the Bounty Hunter is a pop icon. Does anyone really think banning take-out liquor sales on Sunday is going to make us a more moral people? And isn’t it time that these three hold-out states join the 21st century and stop trying to impose narrow religious values on entire state populations? What about all the people for whom Sunday is not the Sabbath? For some of us, Sunday is Funday.
Back in the 1700s, violating blue laws was punishable by truly horrific things like public flogging, time in the stocks, and even having body parts burned or cut off. Lovely. Definitely something to think twice about before breaking the law.
Today, however, it’s just a hassle to not be able to buy booze on a Sunday. True story, one time my mom and grandma were visiting and we had ourselves a little multi-generational PARTAY one Saturday night… ended up drinking more than we thought we would. Next day when we needed some hair of the dog, we were plumb out of hooch. Called my neighbor/BFF Tammy and she was on her last bottle too (or so she said, b!tch) and couldn’t spare us a single drop. So I had to call my 80 year old in-laws and beg them for a bottle of wine. Sent my sweet husband over to their house to snag a bottle from their ever present case of Two Buck Chuck. Talk about embarrassing. Totally made me feel like Wimpy from the Popeye cartoon: “I will gladly pay you Monday for a bottle of your happy juice today.”
So yeah, I learned the hard way that I have to stock up the other 6 days of the week. Not always the easiest thing to remember, especially given the brain cells I keep killing off with my alcohol abuse. But seriously, that is not the point. The point is that religion and government are not good bedfellows. Period. Go thump your bibles far away from my moonshine distillery, por favor.
Now listen, because this is important. All evidence to the contrary, I am not a heathen. I am a Christian woman. I love Jesus and I strive in my daily life to follow his example in all things. Fortunately for me, I happen to know for a fact that Jesus liked to get his drink on.
The Reverend Doctor Allen Dwight Callahan, Associate Professor of New Testament at Harvard Divinity School and an ordained Baptist minister, argues in the film Portrait of a Radical: The Jesus Movement that Jesus loved to party. I’m paraphrasing here, but in a nutshell, he said that if you walked into a party in Jerusalem and were looking for Jesus, you would have had to look no further than the bar.
Jesus knew that he would do the most good in the world if he hung out with the people who needed some guidance. He ran with a tough crowd. He hand-selected fishermen and tax collectors to spread the Good News. Have you ever spent any time down by the docks or with an IRS agent? Avast ye, matey. Thars some rough skallawags. So why must these Christian fundamentalists continually try to dictate how I spend my free time, and what I can purchase, and when? If Jesus could throw down with the sinners, why can’t I?
I mean, come on… Jesus’ very own mama made him turn water into wine at that wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-11). That was his very first public miracle! Pretty important, I’d say. Love of the libation clearly runs in his family. And yet, were Mary and Jesus any less holy?
You know what I say? The family that drinks together…
… oh nevermind. I lost my train of thought. Damn fetal alcohol syndrome!
Now I’m not advocating licentiousness or drunkeness here. I’m just saying that if I want to have a drink in the privacy of my own home on a Sunday, why the hell shouldn’t I? For goodness sake, I drink wine at 9:oo AM every Sunday morning in my own church! “Take this cup and drink from it. This is my blood which will be shed for all of you. Do this in memory of me.” Hello? Jesus wasn’t sharing a Caramel Macchiato. Duh.
Interestingly, the blue laws in Georgia allow me to go out to a restaurant and drink alcohol THERE on a Sunday. I just can’t buy my usual econo-sized box o’ wine at the grocery store that day. Why the good ladies of M.A.D.D. aren’t all over this, I’ll never know. Surely it is safer and more moral for us all to reduce the chances of drunk driving by making it legal for us to buy alcohol in a store and transport it home than having us go out to a restaurant for our daily buzz and then drive home. The insanity.
So my fellow Americans, especially if you are a resident of the grand state of Georgia, contact your local senator if you are tired of living this way. Tell your elected official that you want to support local business, drive the economy, and keep the church out of your grocery store. That’s right friends, we need to fight (boom boom)… for our right (boom boom)… to par-tay. And according to one comment I read over at Creative Loafing, “It’s not over. Senator Chip Rogers, a co-sponsor of SB-10 needs to hear from you. His office number is 404-463-1378. Politely call him and ask him to do everything within his power to bring this to the floor of the State Senate for a vote.”
More at http://www.facebook.com/sundaysales and on twitter @sundaysales .
And check out what my brilliant and witty go-to girlfriend over at Life Lessons Halfway Through has to say about this outrageous issue.
Cheers and Amen!
© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris