Driving Jesus To Drink

" ‘Sunday is God’s day’, he said. ‘We shouldn’t be out sipping on wine
and whiskey.’—What a bunch of BS. Why should I have to suffer because a
handful of bible-thumpers decide on a lark that drinking on Sunday is
bad. You know what Jesus would do? He’d drive over to the next county
with me and that way we could split a twelve pack."

This semi-lucid statement comes from the comment section of the Louisville-Courier that reports Sheperdsville Rejects Sunday Alcohol Sales.

As you may recall, all of Colorado recently turned the other cheek and instituted Sunday alcohol sales. More and more this type of battle fascinates me and there is no lack of battles over when and where people can legally down a 12-pack with Jesus. It would be helpful if Jesus actually came out definitively on one side or the other on the issue of tippling and the Sabbath. It would clear up what appears to be a couple of controversial questions: What does Jesus think of drinking? And, was the water Jesus turned into wine just for display purposes or did he do is magic for drink’in purposes?

When I read these stories I’m reminded of why in my early college years I turned from English to History as a Major and even went on to get the MA in history: the diversity of people and thought in America is astounding. Even before the great migrations to the U.S. beginning with the Germans, then the massive Irish influx, then the Italian and middle European arrivals all the way up to the Latino migration to the U.S of the current day, America was a country of diverse people with a wide variety of ideas on what was right and wrong. At the beginning of the 18th century the Massachusetts Puritans and Calvinists didn’t think much of the much more accepting Quakers in Pennsylvania, while the more private affair that was Anglicanism in the South tended to be content with a faith the helped identify the gentry.

Alcohol laws are but one lens through which to view the local cultures of the United States. In a way it makes great Jeffersonian sense to give localities the power to enact and control their laws concerning sin. There are indeed many different views as to what constitutes a sin.

And yet, we don’t know for sure whether Jesus would indeed drive 30 miles on a Sunday to cross state or county lines to get his hands on a 12 pack. That’s the real question, isn’t it?

15 Responses

  1. Fredric Koeppel - July 22, 2008

    none of these state-wide controversies about alcohol have anything to do with Jesus; they have to do with Christian fundamentalism, ignorance and unreasonable fear. Nowhere in the Old or New Testaments is the admonishment handed down that drinking alcoholic beverages is forbidden or sinful; instead, moderation is encouraged. I have lived in two states — Tennessee for most of my life and Mississippi for 10 (really long) years — where the dry vs wet status goes county by county and town by town. Especially if you live in a rural area, it’s a hassle, an inconvenience, and an embarrassment.
    You just want to say to these people, Grow the fuck up. If you don’t want to drink: don’t. Leave people who do drink alone.

  2. Thomas Pellechia - July 22, 2008

    Tom the diversity of thought isn’t what’s astounding. The lengths to which people will go to try to explain or understand a simple fact is astounding.
    Fact: all these regulations and laws are the interpretive doctrinaires of various religious sects and beliefs. They aren’t exactly the Word, but they are as valid as any fantasy.

  3. Avi - July 22, 2008

    Ah, but if you’re going to drink with Jesus, you should also drink wines from the vineyards that Jesus drank from. Yes, I’m talking about great Israeli wine – suitable for any day, Sunday through Saturday. Great wines are made right from the Jerusalem hills, near where Jesus lived 2000 years ago.
    Maybe that would convince people to serve alcohol on Sunday?

  4. Michelle - July 22, 2008

    Tom – this post made me laugh. I live in Kentucky, went to school in a wet town in a dry county, and often lose patience with my state’s alcohol laws. But I’m also on the border with Ohio – literally. In fact, I can see the Cincinnati Bengals stadium without a problem. Here in Northern Kentucky, they lifted the Sunday law. That way restaurants can serve the folks who are heading to the Bengals games. 🙂

  5. Gretchen - July 22, 2008

    Nothing like an arcane set of rules to make you think.. Does this mean that my 11 year old should be jailed for “serving” the priest at Sunday Mass or the ones at 7:30 in the morning? Or for that matter touching and drinking the wine itself.

  6. kevin k. - July 22, 2008

    Guess the religious front picks the battles they know they can win. When there is more violence in this world everyday, you would think that they would be spreading the word of Jesus – “love God and love one’s self” – they are more content with telling people what is right and wrong, and worried more about selling liquor on Sunday then erroneous wars, rising homelessness, starving kids and millions without decent health care. At least NKY is selling on Sunday.

  7. Genevieve L. - July 22, 2008

    One thing we know about Jesus is that he drank often and implored his followers to do the same. Not only that but when he ran out, he made more.
    It always amazes me that it’s his followers who have supported all these crazy alcohol laws.

  8. Roger Mills - July 22, 2008

    Having done a fair mount of carpentry work on Sundays, it’s my guess he’d even buy.

  9. Christina - July 23, 2008

    Tom, I went to college in what many called ‘the wettest, dry county’ in Texas. We had to drive 20 miles to buy alcohol. I also grew up in the same kind of county where we had to drive to New Mexico for the same thing. Yet this is the same state that at that time (not sure if it is still allowed) you could have an open container in the vehicle.
    What?! The alcohol laws of this country are insane!

  10. Morton Leslie - July 23, 2008

    Blue laws are a source of continual amusement. They usually aggravate the problem they try to alleviate. Some kids with beer open in a car will die one Sunday in an accident speeding back to Shepardsville from Louisville where they bought their beer. And the city council will blame the beer or the loose morals of Louisville.
    Remember the law in New Zealand and Australia that required pubs to close at 6 PM? It became known as the “six o’clock swill” as millions of men hit the pubs at 5 PM when they got off work and downed pints as fast as the could during the hour, then spilled out onto the streets at six o’clock, bombed out of their minds to wreak havoc on the highways, on wives and on kids. And the prohibitionists blamed beer or loose morals, not their own stupid law.

  11. Wineguy - July 23, 2008

    Gas prices were lower in Jesus’ time. It’s questionable whether He could afford to drive 30 miles today.

  12. Heloisa Fialho - July 23, 2008

    Tom, you bet He would!

  13. Doug - July 23, 2008

    The interpretations of scripture and the ignorance never cease to amaze me. As a kid, when I asked my teacher (at a christian school) why drinking alcohol is bad if Jesus drank wine, she told me that wine was non-alcoholic. Early form of pasteurization?
    Looking at this from a legal standpoint, I wonder if a case could be made on the grounds of the First Amendment. I’m no lawyer, but the way I see it people of different denominations, different faiths, atheists, and agnostics alike are all compelled to conform to a specific religious doctrine. That certainly has the appearance of establishing a religion.

  14. Zena - July 25, 2008

    Hmmm….it does sound like the ‘establishment’ of religion by gov. doesn’t it? As for Jesus; he made wine and drank wine and was known to enjoy partying from time to time. That’s why so many church authorities don’t like me and my family, we know when they are using scriptures to exercise their dirty little lusts for power over people while lying about the scriptures, ’cause we tell them. As for Jesus affording to drive for alcohol? It’s a non-issue ’cause he would have hitched a ride for the ’cause’. LOL!

  15. Dino - July 26, 2008

    Everyone knows that Jesus drank grape juice. The Israelites developed Pasteurization 20 centuries before Louis stole the idea. They then bottled the grape juice in PET amphora and stored it in their refrigerators for up to a year.

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