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.