Shelby Baptists say ‘no’ to Sunday alcohol sales
In a unanimous vote March 3, Shelby Baptist Association pastors approved a resolution to encourage legislators to oppose bills related to Sunday alcohol sales in Shelby County.
The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has told Shelby County restaurant owners dual licenses will no longer be allowed and they must choose under which category they will operate — retail restaurant, for which Sunday alcohol sales are illegal, or private club, which allows for Sunday sales but means the business cannot operate as a restaurant. The new policy will go into effect Sept. 30 and will take place with renewal of licenses.
Because of this move, restaurant owners are seeking a referendum on the legalization of Sunday alcohol sales.
“As a ministerial association, we want to go on record saying we are opposed to Sunday liquor sales,” said Mike Shaw, pastor of First Baptist Church, Pelham, as he presented the motion to the nearly 30 in attendance, which included Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo.
“We elected leaders to represent us, and it’s my prayer and hope that they’ll do the right thing and take a stand to stop this from coming to a vote, but if it does, we’ll organize to fight that,” Shaw added. “We believe it is detrimental to the community.”
Through the resolution, ministers of Shelby Association churches are encouraging local legislators “to vigorously oppose any and all efforts to promote Sunday alcohol sales and to oppose any Senate or House bill to provide such.”
Hugh Richardson, director of missions for Shelby Association, said he believes the unanimous vote demonstrates the “unified voice” of pastors and their congregations.
“It’s saying there is a large group of voters and citizens in our county that oppose this,” Richardson said. “I hope the result is that legislators will vote not to consider it and to keep it from becoming a reality in Shelby County.”
For more information about alcohol bills in the Legislature, visit www.thealabamabaptist.org.
This article is reprinted from the March 12, 2009, issue of The Alabama Baptist, the newspaper of the Alabama Baptist State Convention.