For people who have strong religious or personal objections to alcoholic beverages, there’s not any day of the week that they will think is a good one for selling them.
Sunday is more sensitive, as it is the day people of most Christian faiths set aside to go to church or otherwise worship their creator. Still, the ban in Greenwood on letting restaurants serve wine or cocktails to their diners on this day is a bit archaic, a relic of the blue laws that have been discarded over time that once tried to restrict shopping and other leisure activities, including imbibing, so as to keep citizens focused on the day’s religious observances and the biblical admonition to use it as a day of rest.
Maybe it’s a poor reflection on how secular American society has become that churches are half-filled on Sunday while shopping malls and sporting events are packed. But the fact remains that many Christian denominations differ on what it means to “keep holy the sabbath.” For some, alcoholic consumption, as long as it’s done in moderation, is considered perfectly fine on Sunday, as it is on any other day. Thus, the current prohibition in Greenwood shows deference to some faiths over others, which government is really not supposed to do.
Besides, the ban is unfairly applied and a bit illogical. If an establishment has been given resort status in Greenwood, for example, its restaurant can serve alcohol on Sunday all it wants. Or if a patron wants beer rather than wine with his Sunday meal, any restaurant that has a permit to serve beer, resort status or not, is free to serve him.
It’s a little surprising that Greenwood, in an area of Mississippi not known for teetotalers, still has the Sunday prohibition while cities and towns all around it — including Clarksdale, Cleveland, Grenada and Greenville — have lifted theirs. We don’t know how much of an advantage that gives them in attracting visitors, as the quality of the food probably has a lot more to do with where people eat on Sunday than the availability of alcohol. But the Sunday liquor ban may depress the tourist traffic a little, while being an inconvenience year-round to people who live here.
Based on this week’s City Council meeting, its members seemed receptive to removing the ban for at least 12 hours on Sundays. They should go ahead and do so.