UPDATED: State Senate files bill for Sunday alcohol sales
Tue, 25 Jan 2011 19:39:48 GMT —
With the governor planning to sign a bill to allow alcohol sales on Sundays, some Christian groups in the state think this will influence behavior that sullies the fourth commandment: keeping the Sabbath Day holy.
"A lot of people in the religious community see Sunday as a holy day that's just set aside completely for the Sabbath, religious activities, things of that nature," says Lead Pastor at Providence Church Jason Spears. "Personally I don't see why it would affect anybody either way. People are going to get their alcohol; people are going to get their Sunday beer on Saturday. For some people it's an issue for some people it's not."
One member of Providence Church says it doesn't make any difference: "If you're going to be holy you're going to be holy; if you're not going to be holy you're not going to be holy," says Carl Glecaert with Providence Church.
Other members say there are more important efforts for churches to focus their energy on.
Josh Heath: "With everything we've got going on today, it's such a minor issue with the scheme of things with everyone losing their jobs, with everyone losing their homes," says Josh Heath who attends Providence Church.
Pastor Jason Spears says he's written sermons on alcohol: how he doesn't object to people drinking, but it becomes a problem if it consumes lifestyles.
"From our perspective it's not just how you live on Sunday, but it's how you live every day of the week," he says. "For us it's just about following Christ and following Jesus and as long as everyone is Christ like than it's okay."
Legislation paving the way for Sunday alcohol sales in grocery and convenience stores has been filed in the state Senate.
New Republican Gov. Nathan Deal says if it makes it to his desk he'll sign it. Deal's predecessor, Sonny Perdue, had pledged to veto a Sunday alcohol sales bill and previous legislation stalled in the Republican-led General Assembly.
Legislators may like the idea of selling spirits on Sunday, but will Southwest Georgia raise a toast to it?
Georgia is one of three states where alcohol sales on Sunday are prohibited. Because 47 other states allow it, some locals are in favor of Governor Nathan Deal passing the bill for Sunday sales.
"Florida does it. Other states do it. Why not Georgia?" says one local shopper.
And stores say it would be great for business.
"You have big games and you also have NASCAR on Sundays. You have the Super Bowl and football. You may have some BCS championship games and college games. You also have Daytona 500 on Sundays which is a big kickoff for NASCAR," says Chad Pate, cashier at Ace's Liquor in Albany.
If and when Governor Deal signs the Sunday sales bill, it doesn't immediately pass for the entire state: Local communities will be allowed to vote to approve or continue prohibiting Sunday alcohol sales in their area.
"It won't pass in Dougherty County or any surrounding counties just for the simple fact that we're in the Bible Belt," Pate says. "We've had other laws try to come through here about Sunday alcohol sales: Did not pass."
He says churches and religion have a major influence on people.
"When people go out and vote they'll see that and say, 'No Sunday, We don't want that. We don't need it.' It may help the community and tax dollars but they'll just see it, no we don't need it," Pate says.While Pate says Sunday alcohol sales could be beneficial to businesses, he admits there may be one downfall.
"You have people who work every day of the week. You have people who are tired. They may want Sunday off so they can be with their families, and in my opinion God rested on the seventh day, why can't people rest on the seventh day?" Pate says.
What do you think about the idea of Georgia selling alcohol on Sundays? Would you vote for it to be approved in your city?
The Associated Press contributed to this story.