Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


October 21, 2012

KENNETH HART: One more time on Sunday alcohol sales

ASHLAND — You may or not recall that some months back, I penned a column that appeared in this space where I advocated the legalization of Sunday alcohol sales at restaurants in Ashland.

My reasons for doing so were pretty straightforward and logical, I thought. It might help the city attract more eateries, I opined, particularly sports-themed establishments, seeing as how Sunday is the No. 1 day of the week for sporting events and a place that depends on sports to draw customers isn’t likely to locate in a city where it can’t serve beer on those days.

I also mentioned how I thought no-alcohol-on-Sunday laws were silly and outdated anyway, much like “blue laws” that used to be in place in many cities and forbade all businesses from opening their doors on Sundays.

I pointed out as well how I thought forbidding Sunday sales amounted to little more than a thinly attempt force a set of religious beliefs on an entire community that not everyone subscribes to, and how no one who holds those beliefs would be forced to compromise them if Sunday sales ever were allowed.

Simply put, if your religion frowns on drinking on Sunday or on any other day, don’t drink. But, don’t assume everyone holds the same convictions as you.

You wouldn’t like it if a bunch of Jewish folks — whose religion strictly forbids the consumption of pork and pork products — tried to take the bacon or sausage off your breakfast plate, right? Or tried to force you to switch to (gasp!) turkey bacon?

Anyway, I really hadn’t planned to revisit the subject, figuring I’d said all I needed to say about it.

But, an email I received the other day changed my mind.

Here it is:

“This letter is in reference to your Sunday liquor sales.

Can’t you get enough liquor in six days that you have to infringe on God’s day?

I, as a Christian, do not want Sundays to be violated with liquor.

I pray God will forgive you for your attitude.”

The sender did include a name, but I’m withholding it for obvious reasons.

Again, let me state the obvious — I’m not trying to knock anyone’s religious beliefs. I respect the fact this person believes as he or she does.

What I can’t respect, though, is this person’s inference that his or her beliefs should be law, and that there’s no room in Ashland for anyone who doesn’t believe as he or she does.

Plus, as I tried to stress in my first column, Sunday alcohol sales really isn’t a religious issue. It’s an economic one.

We don’t have any idea how many restaurant chains have considered locating in Ashland, only to say “No, thanks” once they found out they couldn’t serve their entire menu seven days a week.

We do know that the lack of Sunday sales caused Ashland to lose one such eatery to a neighboring community.

We also don’t know how many people go to neighboring cities to eat on Sunday, rather than staying closer to home, because they can’t have beer or wine with their meals here. But, I’m willing to bet it’s a large enough number than it amounts to a decent amount of revenue leaving the community every weekend.

Unfortunately, our city leaders have, up until now, at least, have mostly catered to people like my delayed-email-writing “fan” because they’re the ones who tend to vote in the largest numbers.

With new leadership coming aboard at the first of the year, I certainly hope that will change.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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