Blue laws and inconsistencies

Government restrictions on Sunday activities, commonly called blue laws, have been around in various forms since 1617.
Those of a certain age can remember when virtually all stores and businesses were closed on Sunday by law, not by the convictions of store owners.
In Georgia, one of last remnants of the religiously influenced blue laws is a prohibition against selling packaged alcoholic beverages. And the state’s Baptist governor is opposed to legislative efforts to have that issue brought to public vote.
The issue however has raised its head recently when state approval was sought to allow Sunday beer sales at a proposed baseball stadium in suburban Gwinnett County. Some legislators thought it to be a good time to tack on the vote about allowing local communities to determine Sunday sales too.
No way, said Gov. Sonny Perdue, who favors only approving the beer sales (uh, I mean … the “economic development” issue, as he calls it) for the new stadium that will house the Atlanta Braves’ AAA affiliate after a move from Richmond next year.
Of course, his opinion shows obvious political expediency. That’s what politicians do, especially one who is the darling of the Baptist brethren.
There seem to be only two consistent options available, neither of which are likely to arise from such political debates. But I’ll play them out anyway.
One: Allow the same sales opportunities to one vendor as another. Why should a barking beers salesman be able to sell overpriced, flat brew to spectators but the convenient store operator or grocer two miles from the stadium cannot sell a six-pack?
Two: Forgo the Sunday beer sales at the stadium. The Braves could market the games to families. The drunk-free environment would make it less likely some jerk would yell profanity in the face of your children or run over someone on the way home.
Some ballparks designate certain sections for families. But a weekly family day at the stadium — in a era of loss civility — would be welcome.
Yes, civility seems to get lost in our fast-paced living. So does consistency.


  1. I’m mostly apathetic when it comes to political issues. My ears do perk up a bit, however, when politicians begin to claim “family values” or things like that. But my temper begins to flare any time someone mentions Georgia’s alcohol sales as “morality laws” or couples those laws with discussions of church or family. Rarely does anyone discuss the blatant hypocrisies that are rampant within Georgia’s alcohol sales laws.

    Currently, Georgia residents can not purchase alcohol in a grocery store on Sundays. What they can do is drive to a bar or a “dining establishment” and consume alcohol to their heart’s content and then drive home! Are you kidding me? If anything, shouldn’t we encourage the drinkers to do it in the safety of their own home and not places that require them to drive?!

    I don’t think that many of the votes of the politicians on this issue are driven by “convictions” or “family values”. I think that most are driven by their pocketbooks and their wallets.

    I say, either let Sunday sales be open all around or close them all around. Anything else would be pandering because of a fancy dinner from a lobbyist.

    I’ll climb down off my soapbox now…but I’ll stand close by it in case I need to jump back on.

  2. I was reading the other day that John Leland, a Baptist hero of the the late 18th and early 19th centuries, opposed the Sunday closings of U.S. post offices. Leland, a very strong proponent of the separation of church and state, thought such closings represented government favoritism by officially recognizing the “Christian Sabbath.” I wonder what Leland would think of state laws presumably designed keep the “Christian Sabbath” holy by outlawing certain alcohol sales on Sunday? Is this a similar form of favortism to the one he opposed?

    I think alcohol is a very dangerous substance, so I sympathize with those who seek to reduce societal consumption. The last time I went to a sporting event the rowdy drunk behind me actually fell on top of me before the game was over, so I would prefer that there was no drinking at any games on any day of the week. Even so the inconsistent position of Gov. Purdue and Georgia rules that would seem to encourage drunk driving on Sunday appear indefensible.

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