NASHVILLE — A group of conservative pastors are praying and calling on state lawmakers to reject a bill in the General Assembly that legalizes Sunday bottles sales of wine and liquor in Tennessee.
"We have more than enough problems with alcohol abuse in Tennessee without making it even more easily and readily accessible, especially on the Lord's Day," said Dale Walker, a pastor and president of the Tennessee Pastors Network.
Walker said in his statement group is "praying that the legislators will focus on the dangers of fueling even more addiction and harm to Tennessee families from these products rather than bowing to the demands of the liquor lobbyists and their large campaign donations."
The House bill, sponsored by Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, is scheduled to be heard Wednesday in the Finance Subcommittee which McCormick chairs. The Senate bill, sponsored by Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, has cleared all committees and is awaiting scheduling for Senate floor consideration.
McCormick, Ketron and grocery stores say their constituents are upset to learn at store counters that Tennessee law bars bottle sales of wine on Sundays. The bill, which includes liquor package stores, would allow stores to sell wine and, in the case of package stores spirits, on the same days as beer is sold.
Tennesseans can already buy wine and liquor by the glass at restaurants.
But Pastor Walker said in a news release that "alcohol continues to devastate more and more lives, and our politicians are to blame when they allow an increasing number of venues for alcohol to be sold. Now they not only want more venues, they want to add an additional day for the sale of these products.
"Do legislators really believe the problems and challenges we face in Tennessee will be solved by more of our neighbors and family members consuming more alcohol?" Walker said.
He also cited President Donald Trump as a stellar example for abstention.
The president, Walker added, "sets a tremendous example to young and old alike by his stand of refusing to drink alcohol."
"I pray that Tennessee wakes up and defeats this liquor industry push for more alcohol sales. Sunday sales of liquor and other alcoholic beverages will not make Tennessee a better place to live and raise our families—it will simply pour more profits into the liquor industry," Walker said.
Contact staff writer Andy Sher at email@example.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.