Bye Bye Blue Laws?

Blue Laws  restrict the selling of alcohol on Sundays and date back to the nineteenth century. Blue law legislation can also prohibit other commercial activities on Sunday. Most states have rescinded or overturned this legislation but Connecticut, Georgia, and Indiana still restrict sales of all alcoholic beverages. Fifteen other states , including Texas, prohibit the sale of distilled spirits only.

According to Time, these states may soon join the rest of the country in providing 24/7 liquor sales to their citizens. Although the Christian right opposes overturning the Blue laws, the states feel they are losing a valuable source of revenue by continuing  to prohibit Sunday sales. Connecticut faces competition from both New York and Massachusetts while Texas feels it is losing  revenue from potential sales along the border with Mexico.

The Time article points out how governments turn to alcohol as a source of revenue during hard times. The Repeal of Prohibition at the height of the Great Depression is the most striking parallel to today’s situation. President Obama certainly appears to share President Franklin Roosevelt’s affinity for cocktails but Jessica Warner, The Day George Bush Stopped Drinking: Why Abstinence Matters to the Religious Right, argues that, as a society America needs to abstain from something. If the revenue needs of states move our abstemious gaze away from alcohol, what other substance or behavior will we seek to curtail?

3 thoughts on “Bye Bye Blue Laws?”

  1. Sunday laws are unconstitutional and violate the separation between church and state. Regligion is something that individuals must decide for themselves, it cannot be state regulated. I am very religious but I would never think of forcing my views on someone else.

    Why is it that so many people want the government to force people to do something when they have perfect freedom to do it? If you don’t want to work or shop on sunday, the usa government guarentees that right. If you don’t want someone else to shop or work on sunday, that has nothing to do with the government. Why is it that so many sunday keepers who want to restrict others religious freedom themselves work and shop on sunday?

  2. Hi Amy,
    Interesting post. Regarding Obama’s cocktail habit, I’m sure that drives the right crazy. I’ve run across many newspaper stories from the 19th century about opposition to restaurants in the House and Senate where alcoholic beverages were served. On the other hand, Presidential tea parties were celebrated. Would reaching across the aisle with a teacup be smart politics?

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