Wine, Dope, Jesus and Free Speech
The extent of the State’s ability to control speech doesn’t often touch on the issue of wine or alcohol. Yet today I think it does. At least today’s Supreme Court ruling in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case reminds me of the ways by which substances such as wine and alcohol are treated by the state.
The 5-4 ruling today tells us that a school has the right to censor speech at school events that might be construed as advocating drug use against the schools stated policy.
At the school my children go to here in Sonoma Valley, they are prohibited from wearing any clothing that contains the image of alcohol or a pro-alcohol message. For example, if I get a T-Shirt from Ravenswood that says "No Wimpy Wines" and give it to my boy, he may not wear it to school because it promotes alcohol consumption. If found wearing it he will be given a large, bright orange T-shirt to wear over it for the day that reads, "Tomorrow I will dress for success".
There are other clothing prohibitions in place at the school, most of which have to do with gang apparel and scanty clothing.
My point is that wine and other types of alcohol are lumped with gangs, drugs and promiscuity at my
children’s school and likely at other schools across the nation. This will not come as news to most people. Nor do I think it’s necessarily a situation that demands some sort of community uprising. (The fact is it would take a heck of a lot more than banning a wine t-shirt at school to get most wine communities to rise up.)
So while I don’t know how Jesus would have felt about bong hits, I do wonder what the school’s reaction would be to this t-shirt:
"JESUS LIKED WINE MORE THAN WATER!"
Maybe one day the Supreme Court will even tell us if this is a subversive message.