Religious leaders oppose bill to sell alcohol on Sundays - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Religious leaders oppose bill to sell alcohol on Sundays

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Religious leaders are stepping up their opposition to a bill that could allow stores to sell alcohol on Sundays.

Alcohol is big business, one of the few industries on the rise in the sagging economy.

Some state lawmakers see Sunday sales as a way to boost tax revenue, but critics say it's not worth it.

The Georgia Christian Coalition, Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns, many South Georgia pastors, even liquor store owners say they are steadfastly opposed to Sunday alcohol sales. But most worry that Georgians will vote for Sunday sales.

The Warehouse Package Store in Albany is expanding, adding on thousands of feet of sales floor and warehouse space. Because alcohol sales by the bottle are up.

"Because more people tend to be drinking at home, and less dining out. Less going out, because of DUI laws. They've gotten stricter and it's just safer to take it home. Liquor manufacturers see the trend, and have expanded with new flavored liquors and micro brew beers," said Warehouse Package Store Manager, Louis Bernard.

South Georgia pastors see the increase as well.

"We spend at church most of our time cleaning up the messes of drugs and alcohol," said Life Christian Center International Pastor Stan Glass.

Zion Baptist Church Pastor Daniel Simmons says state legislators seem to lose their faith when they start voting on tax revenues.

"Do we really want to send the message that the revenue expected from this is more important than honoring God," said Simmons.

Dr. Robert Brewer of the U.S. Center for Disease Control said the science is strong that making alcohol more available increases its harm.

"I think it all gets down to the bottom line of king dollar. It seems like that's what everybody wants to line the pockets with at the expense of other people," said Glass.

Even the liquor store managers we have talked with are opposed to Sunday sales.

"Here in the Bible belt, I think it's worked for a long time and I think it's something to stay with, being closed on Sunday," said Bernard.

Both Pastors say they fear if Georgia voters are given the chance to vote on Sunday alcohol sales in their community, most will be approved.

The Georgia Christian Coalition said that they believe Sunday alcohol sales would be a special danger to teenagers who are out of school, and increase danger to Georgians on the roads on Sunday.

Georgia is one of only three states that ban alcohol sales by the bottle on Sunday.

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