Sunday liquor sales

Bob Barr is calling for an end to Georgia’s Blue Laws:

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.

46 comments

  1. StevePerkins says:

    I think it’s time for Georgia politicians to take a little reality check on issues that are “too radioactive to touch”.

    Several years back the notion of dropping the Confederate flag seemed “radioactive”. However, the governor who finally did it was leader of a party that was on its way out of power anyway. Perdue, his successor, made promises about the flag that he later broke… AND NO ONE CARED. People lost interest in the issue, because it was never as “radioactive” as it was made out to be in the first place.

    Georgia is known as being a hardcore part of the Bible Belt. It’s supposedly a “radioactive” notion to try and run in the Republican primaries here without the support of the Religious Right. However, a relatively unknown legislator just beat the pants off the Religious Right’s poster boy… with the support of almost the entire state Senate, along with a decisive edge in fundraising despite that opponent’s national resources. You can try to blame it on Indian casinos, but get real… even among us policy wonks, does anyone REALLY understand fully what that scandal was even about? Call me crazy, but I instead think it was just about the Religious Right’s stranglehold on state politics not being quite as “radioactive” as people make it out to be.

    Blue laws are just another “radioactive” issue that ain’t. You can’t convince me that if such laws were repealed, anyone other than a handful of McBerry nutjobs would even remember by the time the next election rolled around. There’s probably still plenty of mileage left in the gay marriage tank, but blue laws are yesterday’s issue with nothing but upside for leaders who repeal them.

  2. rugby_fan says:

    does anyone REALLY understand fully what that scandal was even about

    Ralph Reed took money from Indian casinos to say that casino gambling is immoral. This was just a cover to put a rival casino out of business.

  3. Old School Politics says:

    Let me state that I am not anti-alcohol.

    Beer, wine and liquor producers, wholesalers, and retailers have every right to make money and do so without the interference of government. However this does have everything to do with TRADITION and holding on to some of the things that make Georgia unique. If the legislature allows this to happen I can only imagine what is next. Can any one say HORSE RACING!!! Why do we have to always chip away at our values. Some things are better just left alone

  4. Adam Fogle says:

    Old School,

    Slippery slope argument = illogical.

    And the “tradition” claims are total BS. I don’t even need to point to “traditions” like slavery, genocide, etc.

    liberty,

    I hope you were joking about the 18 thing. Seriously… stop commenting like an idiot.

  5. mercergirl says:

    Um how about all of the revenue that can be generated? Not to mention what a pain in the ass it is to make sure you have enough alcohol, such as for New Years Eve (at it was on a Sunday this year) or Super Bowl Sunday? 😉

  6. rightofcenter says:

    Senator Douglas,
    I hope you have more intelligent thoughts or comments on the issues that come before the General Assembly than you displayed here.

  7. John Douglas says:

    I guess I was wrong thinking someone could lay in enough alcohol on one day to get them through that day and the next. If they cant, then Sunday sales are the least of their problems.

  8. Bill Arp says:

    Mr. Douglas,

    It is not that we cannot buy alcohol on Sundays but rather it is that this is extremely too much government involvement in your life. Georgia does not always have to be behind the other states to act on an issue. It makes Common people like myself burdened to go to the local Restrauant to have a drink on Sunday….and then when I have to go home I get a DUI. I would much rather get my alcohol on Sunday. The reason that the government regualtes actions Health, Safely and Welfare. How is allowing alcohol to be sold on sunday (not just being sold) promoting any of theses values?

    BA

  9. Jason Pye says:

    Senator,

    You should know me well enough to know that I always default on the side of less government and personal responsibility.

    It has nothing to do with alcohol consumption, I rarely even drink (two beers on New Years Eve, the most I’ve drank in six months). It is a matter of putting matters back into the hands of individuals rather than in the hands of legislators, like yourself, that are playing to a certain audience for no reason other than to get a few extra votes.

  10. StevePerkins says:

    Come on now, Senator Douglas. If “just stocking up on Saturdays” meant that blue laws don’t affect anyone, it would also mean that they therefore serve no purpose. You know good and well though that they DO serve a purpose. The block sale to customers who don’t SCHEDULE their alcohol consumption days in advance… which includes (at least I hope) most people.

    This drives alcohol business from the grocery store (and the safety of people’s homes) to restaurants and bars, and therefore increases the likelihood of drunk driving… a senseless risk taken just because “Mommy” government thinks it knows best how people should live. I swear, the difference between the far-right and the big-government liberals is basically just semantics.

  11. Adam Fogle says:

    Senator Douglas,

    Due respect, but that same fallacious logic could be used to ban pretty much anything.

    How about church services: If people can’t get all of their church on Sunday and need to attend on Wednesdays too, then banning Wednesday services is “the least of their problems.”

    Or maybe NFL football: If people can’t get all of their football on Saturdays, then craving NFL football on Sundays is “the least of their problems.”

    Or maybe farming: If farmers can’t do all of their farming on Mon. – Sat., then farming on Sunday is “the least of their problems.”

    You can see where I’m going with this. If an adult (21+) is responsibly consuming alcohol (i.e. not infringing on someone else’s rights), then who cares when they are doing it?

    I don’t want the government telling me when I can or cannot attend church, when I can or cannot watch football, and when I can or cannot tend to my farm, so why the heck should they be able to tell me when I can or cannot consume/purchase alcoholic beverages?

    Also – to chase a rabbit for the inevitable rebuttal – there are already plenty of state laws controlling age requirements and DUI, etc. Blue laws do not in any way influence this area, so please do not suggest they serve as a means to curbing anything.

  12. Old School Politics says:

    I think all should give Sen. Douglas a break. He makes a good point. Without being able to purchase alcohol on Sunday the industry probably made more money with folks thinking ahead and wanting to make sure they had enough for Sunday. Folks probably bought way more than they needed.

    Bottom line: Some of you love alcohol way too much. I would love someone to explain to me why the citizens of this state NEED alcohol on Sunday. If you can give me a logical reason why we NEED alcohol on Sunday I will rest my case.

  13. wtfmate says:

    Is it not possible to buy enough alcohol on Saturday to get you through Sunday?

    Is it not possible for you to get of of your demagoguery out of your system during the session that you don’t have to come on here and demagogue even more? Maybe we should make being a self-righteous demagogue legislator something that is only legal during the session…

    Old School Politics,

    Can you give me a logical reason why we need alcohol on any day of the week? If it’s okay six days a week then it should be okay seven days a week. Bob Barr is right, the opposition to this is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to force your hypocritical “Christian” views down everyone else’s throats.

  14. John Galt says:

    Old School,

    We NEED less government on Sunday. That’s the point here. I think we should also repeal the seat belt laws for Sunday only. I get enough safety Mon.-Sat.

    The argument to just stock up on Saturday for Sunday consumption shows how ridiculous the blue law is to begin with.

    Georgia can become a leader in a movement toward individual freedom by repealing the blue laws, in addition to passing Sen. Douglas’ plan to repeal the state income tax.

  15. Decaturguy says:

    I agree with Steve Perkins. If the blue laws were repealed, it would frazzle the Sadie Fields nutjob wing of the Republican Party for a few weeks and that would be about it.

    Senator Douglas, why do you consistently oppose more freedom and always want to involve big government to “protect” people?

  16. Old School Politics says:

    We need seat belts for = SAFETY

    We need guns for = Protection

    We need alcohol for = ?????

    You have still not given me a good reason why the citizens of our state absolutely NEED to be able to have alcohol shooting through their veins on Sunday. I dont buy the individual freedom GARBAGE of an argument that is being tossed around

  17. jsm says:

    I don’t drink, and I’m a pretty socially conservative Christian. However, regarding this debate, I believe in two things:

    1. Freedom (with personal responsibility).
    2. Moral/religious values that are personal, except for actions that harm another being without proper cause.

    Government’s purpose should be to protect its citizens from foreign enemies and criminal harm. Everything else is superfluous.

    There is no need to restrict the day or time that someone can buy alcohol.

  18. rugby_fan says:

    Old School Politics,

    It is not a NEED for alcohol on ANY DAY, it comes down to, does the GOVERNMENT NEED to tell me what I can and can not do as an adult on ANY DAY.

    But, here is why we would “need alcohol on a Sunday”. We are adults. We make responsible choices. We feel we should be able to do so on any day of the week sans governmental approval. Clear?

    Now let me ask you a question, why does it matter if we drink alcohol on a Sunday? Can you find justification in the Bible that God or Jesus is opposed to the drinking of alcohol?

  19. Leviathanslayer says:

    What happens if a church forgot to buy communion wine on Saturday? Do they have to send a deacon on a Sunday morning liquor run up to Tennessee?

  20. Adam Fogle says:

    I would love someone to explain to me why the citizens of this state NEED alcohol on Sunday.

    You’ve got a really screwed up, backward interpretation of freedom… that’s just not how liberty works.

    In America, the government must explain why liberties SHOULD BE restricted, not the other way around.

    It is not the job of the people to show why each individual freedom (freedom to own a gun, freedom to watch football, freedom to sleep in late, freedom to buy alcohol on Sunday, etc.) is worth protecting, it is the job of the government to show why a law restricting any said freedom is necessary.

  21. Old School Politics says:

    I will rest my case on one condition. In order to agree with Sunday sales of alcohol I would ask that all you Pro-Sunday Sales bloggers join me in my effort to do away with the taxes of alcohol and tobacco and eliminate the State-Wide smoking ban. It is just ridiculous what government has done to this industry. If this is really about individual freedom shouldnt I have the right to smoke wherever I want to. Should I further more not be subjected to taxes that penalize me for choosing to consume alcohol or tobacco?

    So join me in leading the charge to elimate taxes on alcohol and tobacco, legalize the Sunday sales of alcohol, and eliminate the Smoking Ban.

    INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS!

  22. rightofcenter says:

    I fear the schism in the Republican Party is going to happen sooner rather than later. I get emails from the good senator extolling the virtues of freedom and liberty, but yet he defends the “Mommy government” inherent in the blue laws. Sadie and her ilk are the best (and perhaps only) thing the Dems have going for them right now.

  23. jsm says:

    I talked to Reece when he was pushing the smoking ban about requiring very strict ventilation standards for smoking areas instead of banning it in restaurants altogether. This would protect the freedoms of both smokers and non-smokers, and it would lay the burden of having a smoking area on the restaurant or other business that wanted it. The cost of a truly effective ventilation system would be very high, and this requirement would have taken smoking areas out of most restaurants. Therefore, he would have produced essentially the same result while not taking away people’s rights. He wasn’t interested in the idea.

    Old School, I support your right to smoke as long as it doesn’t make me uncomfortable or harm my health.

  24. DougieFresh says:

    I am not a drinker, so I do not keep a supply of alcohol around. However, sometimes you have unexpected company, and might want wine or beer for guests. It is rediculous that an adult in Georgia cannot make alcohol purchases on Sunday.

  25. Adam Fogle says:

    If this is really about individual freedom shouldnt I have the right to smoke wherever I want to.

    No, because smoking in most public places impedes on the individual rights of others to not suck in cancer. Drinking only affects the consumer (DUI and the results of drunken stupidity withstanding).

    Should I further more not be subjected to taxes that penalize me for choosing to consume alcohol or tobacco?

    You have a better argument there.

  26. Jace Walden says:

    If this is really about individual freedom shouldnt I have the right to smoke wherever I want to. Should I further more not be subjected to taxes that penalize me for choosing to consume alcohol or tobacco?

    You’re absolutely right.

    The state-wide smoking ban is a completely useless/unconstitutional piece of legislation. It doesn’t limit non-smoking rules to public places. It forces PRIVATE business owners to run their own businesses smoke free. That is wrong. If I want to own a restaurant that allows smoking, then that should be my right. If you don’t want to breath the smoke, then you can go to another restaurant.

    The smoking ban is almost as bad as the many emminent domain abuses across the country. It stops short of taking someone’s property, but it still mandates what LEGAL PRODUCTS a land/business owner may or may not offer consenting adults on his/her property.

    So, yes, I will join in with you to lift the state-wide smoking ban.

  27. Jason Pye says:

    We need alcohol for = ?????

    After reading your comments…I need a drink.

    As far as smoking bans, I don’t agree with them. The power of the market should prevail, as well as property rights.

  28. Jeff says:

    I do not think this argument is about government interference…it is about religious intrusion. We are prohibited by law, but the law was made to coerce compliance with religious values. I think the only time I go to church is if I run out of booze on sunday, at least that way I can drink a dozen or so of those thimbles of garbage wine that they serve for communion.

  29. SkylerA says:

    I think not selling alcohol on Sunday is rediculous.

    Not everyone in this state celebrates Sabbath, or Celebrates the Sabbath on Sunday, so why do people, like Senataor Douglas, think its okay to force the beliefs of the “Majority” on the rights of everyone else? This is America, and not everyone in Georgia is a Christian, and If an adult wants to buy Alcohol on Sunday they should be able to. They shouldn’t have to “Buy enough on Saturday to get them through”. Come on now, This isn’t communist Georgia! I’m almost afraid the GOP Legislature is going to put snipers outside liquor stores on Sunday to double check that nobody buys alcohol, now theres a thought.

    Everytime I read one of these rediculous arguments we have it makes me sick to my stomach to think that right wing nutjobs like Nancy Shaefer and Sen. Douglas are running our state and forcing their beliefs on everyone else….Georgians have lost their minds voting these people into office.

  30. liberty21 says:

    Senator Douglas,
    I do not believe in the blue laws. The law is outdated. We need to repeal the blue laws. It is time Georgia starts having policies that representing modern day American, not the 1940’s and 1950’s

  31. UGAchris says:

    Why hasn’t someone already sued the state for not allowing them to buy alcohol on Sunday? I think most courts would overturn the law, simply because Sunday was chosen for religious reasons. If anyone would like to provide for my legal counsel, I would surely do this myself.

  32. Jen says:

    Old School Politics ,

    If you can give me a logical reason why we NEED alcohol on Sunday I will rest my case.

    Communion.

  33. Inside_Man says:

    If anyone expects the GA to repeal the Blue laws based on the logical application of individual rights, don’t hold your breath, it doesn’t work that way around here. Maybe if the Chamber weighed in in favor of repeal, something would happen. The Almighty doesn’t need John Law’s help.

  34. Jeff says:

    Logic and the GOP. We are definitely screwed on getting the blue law repealed or even a justification for it continued existence. Blue laws similar to this one are problematic. Hell on Sunday if I want to get drunk I need to buy a few bottles of NyQuil or drink mouthwash. I am not a drunk, I personally do not engage in these activities, but if somebody were to endanger there lives because of their inability to purchase alcohol on Sunday they may be able to sue the state. Perhaps we should have a rally, a thousand drunks march on atlanta on a Sunday guzzling mouthwash and cold medicine.

  35. mercergirl says:

    Ok- my comment is coming in a little late here…. however.

    Senator Douglas, you making the inference that someone not being able to buy enough alcohol in one day having “more problems” (or whatever it was you said) is EXACTLY why I do not want this law in place. It is not up to you or ANYONE ELSE do decide what I have to right to do or not to do in my personal life. And it is because of that kind of bullsh*t that the Republicans like Ralph Reed lost- because they are trying to legislate religion. And I consider myself to be a Christian but I’ll be damned if anyone is going to tell me what I can and cannot do within the legal confines of the law. I am over 21, I should be able to buy alcohol whenever I want to- not because some religious hacks think I am dishonoring God.

    How about this for you- I am an Episcopalian, we drink wine *GASP* during our church service as part of the sacraments- would you like to legislate that? And tell me how would that not be mixing the lines of seperation of church and state?

  36. bowersville says:

    With the appearance of being naive, I continue to hope that each elected official honors each and every pledge, signed or uttered prior to this election. Especially those officials that pledged to restore liberty, shrink government, promote the freedom… of citizens and remember to refrain from promoting the interference of government. Georgia blue laws in no way promote freedom or liberty of the citizenry. If a bill comes up to repeal our blue laws, I hope the Senator of the 17th and my Senator of the 50th vote for less government interference.

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