With such widespread public support against continuation of Georgia’s Blue Law, and with the attendant awkwardness of being the only southern state still wedded to this vestige of Puritanism, will the Georgia Legislature in 2007 finally bring our state into the modern era, at least as regard to this question? After all, what passes for logic in the arguments against repeal of the Blue Law, is nothing but thinly disguised religious intolerance.
Of course, some Blue-Law proponents don’t even try to hide the parochial nature of their desire to force nonbelievers into conformity. Sadie Fields, who heads the Georgia Christian Alliance, for example, says she and her group’s members will continue to oppose a loosening of the prohibition on Sunday alcohol retail sales “for obvious reasons.” One “obvious reason” is her belief that such legal prohibition “honor[s] God.” Leaving aside the question of how forcing someone to thus “honor God” —- as opposed to individuals voluntarily choosing to “honor God” —- the other arguments anti-sales proponents employ are equally vapid.
State Rep. James Mills (R-Chestnut Mountain) harkens back to the “wisdom in our forefathers who put” such Blue Laws in place, as a reason he will “honor them.” Basing our state laws on edicts laid down centuries ago by Puritan colonial leaders makes about as much sense as arguing that race should be an allowable factor in determining whether to serve a customer in a public facility in 2007 simply because it was legally permissible to do so many decades ago.
Some legislators opposed to Sunday retail alcohol sales —- again, like Mills —- cite the example of Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, who continues to close all his stores on Sundays in observance of the Sabbath, as a reason to continue the legal prohibition on alcohol sales. The fact that there exists a difference between the owner of a private company deciding to close his own stores on Sunday, and the government forcing all stores of a particular type to not sell a particular product on a certain day of the week, is a nuance that apparently escapes such legislators.
Let us hope that an informed public will insist that members of the General Assembly exhibit a slightly greater degree of logic and sense of freedom if and when this issue comes before them in the coming session.
I think the laws prohibiting Sunday alcohol sales are pointless and they need to be repealed, but I know Sadie Fields and her minions will make it comparable to blasphemy or gay marriage.