Local News

September 24, 2006

Pastors differ on alcohol use

Some see it as God’s creation, others identify liquor with evil

Voters in Dalton and Whitfield County will soon be asked to vote on two different referendums concerning alcoholic beverages.

One asks Dalton voters whether the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink should be permitted on Sunday. The other asks Whitfield County voters whether the sale of distilled spirits by the drink should be permitted in restaurants in unincorporated areas. The county already permits the sale of beer and wine by the drink.

For many voters, these questions touch upon deeply held values. The Daily Citizen recently talked to several religious leaders of different faiths about what their traditions teach about the use of alcohol. While these discussions did not focus on the two referendums, they may help readers grappling with some of those issues.

Rev. Dean Taylor

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

“The Episcopal church believes there is nothing innately wrong with alcohol consumption. But we do recognize that the disease of alcoholism can destroy lives, so our ministry to those folks with that disease is pretty important to us,” said Dean Taylor, pastor of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

“Alcohol is part of God's creation and as such it is not evil. It is only what we do with it. Overconsuming to the point that we hurt ourselves or other people -- that’s when it becomes an evil,” he added.

Episcopalians use wine in their communion services.

“The church has used wine all the way back to Roman times. The way we read the Gospels is that Jesus used wine in an appropriate way, so we do the same,” he said.

Episcopalians may also drink wine and other alcoholic drinks at social events or dinner.

“To us, it is part of the imagery of the Kingdom and of celebration, and we see that as being appropriate,” he said.

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