“Drink your wine with a merry heart”

The subtitle of this blog is: "a blog set inside the world of wine public relations—where the media, culture and I mingle."

Today I want to focus on "culture", specifically the American culture and the way by which it has helped frame the debate over alcohol.

Consider this statement: "The drinking of
alcohol is not a sin. The abuse of alcohol is a sin. And
once you start drinking it, it is hard not to abuse it."

Here is a very concise and accurate description of how very important elements of the American culture have responded to alcohol over the past 300 years. One need not recount the episode of Prohibition to make the point that religion and its various manifestations has had a monumental impact on how American society has treated the question of alcohol.

The quote above comes from the Reverend Gary Rubendall of Calvary Baptist of Burleson, Texas. It is a response to the upcoming election that will decide if alcohol should be sold in their neck of the woods, where it is currently "dry". The good Reverend, besides accusing wine lovers of displeasing God, is leading a fast of believers between now and election day in November.

Now, I’m one of those people that believe members of the electorate should vote their values. I believe that religious values must inform believers how best to respond to those things we render unto Caesar. I also believe that once religious values an morals are publicly brought to bare on questions of public policy, those values and morals are open to critique. That is to say, once served up, religion is on the table for discussion…and critique.

That said, here we have an example of religion being used in such a way that will only harm those who buy the admonitions of the person espousing this particular brand of religious values. Perhaps I’m just not sufficiently schooled in Baptist values, but I fail to see how not eating adds to the debate about whether or not wine should be sold. Maybe I’m just a heathen, but I simply don’t understand why a God who has so much to be concerned with when it comes to his people, that he would spend much time worrying over whether or not wine is being served with dinner.

"Fasting for me as a Christian, and other Christians, is a way to show God our commitment to this," said the Reverend.

Hmmm. That’s one demanding God.

Among the many sins listed in the Bible are talking back to your parents and not being a virgin on your wedding night if you are a woman (both, by the way, are punishable by death…death by stoning to be specific). However, I fail to see where drinking is a sin listed in the Bible. What I see is this:

"Go, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart,
because it is now that God favors your works." (Ecclesiastes 9:7)

Posted In: Culture and Wine


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