Sunday booze bill said to 'disrespect churches'
Seth Brown, BR Content Editor
May 09, 2017

Sunday booze bill said to ‘disrespect churches’

Sunday booze bill said to 'disrespect churches'
Seth Brown, BR Content Editor
May 09, 2017

(Updated May 10 at 8:08 a.m.)

North Carolina’s Christian Action League (CAL) is calling pastors and church leaders to sign a letter of opposition to a bill that would allow cities and counties to roll back prohibitions against Sunday alcohol sales from noon to 10 a.m.

The public policy organization’s executive director, Mark Creech, said the so-called “Brunch Bill” represents “tacit disrespect for churches.”

“Churches spend significant ministry resources helping people pick up the pieces of their lives ruined by alcohol use and abuse,” he continued. “Don’t churches deserve respect for this indispensable service? … This kind of legislation works against the positive role of religion in our society.”

Senate Bill 155, which is currently before the Committee on Finance, also includes provisions for retailers governed by the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (commonly called ABC stores) to host free liquor tastings sponsored by distilleries.

Creech said in a blog post on the CAL website that allowing ABC stores to host special tasting events would transform their role from alcohol regulation to state-sanctioned promotion.

The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) has launched a digital campaign in support of the bill through an online petition, website and social media hashtags. In a tweet May 9, the NCRLA said the campaign had garnered nearly 3,000 signatures in its #FreeTheMimosa effort.

Lynn Minges, the group’s president and chief executive, told WRAL that meeting consumer demand could increase economic activity and lead to “tax revenue for state and local government as well as jobs for people who make a living in this industry.”

"I really can’t imagine why anyone is against it,” she said.

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina sent a letter to Southern Baptist pastors across the state on May 10, encouraging church leaders to contact their legislators about the Brunch Bill.

The letter was signed by Earl Roach, chair of the Christian Life & Public Affairs Committee, and Brian Davis, Associate Executive Director-Treasurer.

The document notes the relaxed Sunday sales regulations, along with a provision of the bill that expands the number of bottles of alcohol from one to five that distilleries may sell directly to customers taking facility tours.

“Alcohol may already be obtained easily across this state, and there is no compelling reason to expand its availability, whether in restaurants on Sundays or at distilleries during any other time of the week,” convention leaders said.