The high road and the low road
By By J.W. Greenhill, Hartselle Enquirer
The people of Hartselle are already sizing up which way they will cast their ballots on the issue of legalizing alcohol sales in our fair city.
Some will contend the issue is cut and dried already. Alcohol is morally wrong and should not be sold in Hartselle.
Others contend Hartselle as a community is no moral high-brow and is wet already and foolishly not reaping the logical benefit of collecting taxes from an already lucrative alcohol market.
If I look solely at the financial needs of Hartselle, I have to give the nod to legalizing alcohol sales.
Consider that if Hartselle were to ratify the legalization of alcohol sales the much-needed development and expansion of the city at its two interstate exchanges would virtually happen overnight. The restaurant chains that anticipated Cullman going wet would not wait long to make landowners in Hartselle lucrative offers. It would solve many of the annexation problems faced at the interchanges and along the I-65 corridor. In order to be competitive, stores and service stations would have to come into the city to obtain a liquor license and growth would be the results. From this point of view the voters in Cullman may have done Hartselle a big favor, if our voters welcome this so-called, "opportunity."
What about the moral issue? I know that some in Hartselle will vehemently disagree with me when I say, "From my study of the Bible, I do not believe that the responsible consumption of alcohol is a moral issue."
I don't want to get into a Bible debate with local pastors and preachers about this issue. Small wars have been fought, the Greek and Hebrew dissected and parsed and the two camps are still divided. That in itself should make Bible scholars realize that there is a proper use of alcohol and an improper use – the Bible speaks of both.
The Bible does say, however, that the misuse of and overindulgence in alcohol in its various forms leads to sin and destruction and I understand that these results are what alcohol opponents are truly against. But I believe they are going at it the wrong way.
Until there is change in the heart of a man or woman that works its way from the inside out, there is no true change. Without that change, they'll keep going to the bottom of the hill. Without that inward change they won't have the self-control necessary to know when to stop consuming alcohol.
In previous columns I have urged the Christians of Hartselle to pray for revival. I do so again. This is the true solution and the High Road I believe we should take.
True, congregations around town can band together and present the woeful statistics of lives and families destroyed by the misuse of alcohol and probably defeat this measure for the time being. This is the road we are on now and it is the Low Road because it does not trust in the power of God, but rather in the power of man's law.
If this is the course we take, we are only delaying the inevitable way of the world and giving ourselves a self-righteous pat on the back. It will only come around again in the future and Hartselle may eventually be so strapped that the city will be annexed by other municipalities in the county because it cannot provide the services required by its citizens. If that annexation is by Decatur, Hartselle will be wet and persons who live elsewhere have already made the rules by which our community will sell alcohol.
But if we take the High Road of Revival by trusting God in prayer and faith to change the hearts of men and women through the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ we can make a difference that reaches beyond Hartselle to the world.
It may not take the form our traditions tell us it should take, but it will be far more fruitful for eternity.