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Alcohol, underage drinking and Big Brother

By Scott Tibbs, August 3, 2010

On July 1, a new state law went into effect that effectively requires retail outlets to check the photo ID of everyone who purchases alcohol, though Indiana University study indicates that "only 5 percent of underage drinkers obtained their alcohol from licensed retailers." This past week, people on Indianapolis' west side petitioned the Marion County Alcoholic Beverage Commission to deny Walgreens' request to sell alcohol at their stores.

The roots of our society's aversion to alcohol (which is ironic, considering how common drinking is) comes from Prohibition and the "temperance" movement that led to it. Some Christians hold the position that drinking alcohol is in and of itself sinful. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul tells Timothy to drink wine for his digestive problems. Proverbs 31:6-7 advises us to "give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts."

In fact, Jesus Himself drank wine, as we see when his critics called him a drunkard because he ate and drank with sinners. (See Matthew 11:18-19 and Luke 7:33-34.) Jesus drank alcoholic wine at the Last Supper. (See Mark 14:23-25) The first recorded miracle shows that Jesus transformed water into wine, and the context of John 2:1-11 clearly demonstrates this was alcoholic wine, not grape juice.

What we need to do here is treat adults like adults. It is absurd to force everyone to submit a photo ID, especially given that so few underage drinkers buy directly from retailers. We certainly don't need ridiculous nanny state regulations like forcing everyone to have an ignition interlock device. We don't need to become completely hysterical over beer cans painted in the color scheme of the local university.

Treating adults like adults means recognizing that drinking alcohol is a natural part of life for millions of people, and that most adults are mature enough to handle consuming alcohol without drinking to excess or endangering others on the road by driving afterward. Treating adults like adults also means scrapping the silly legal drinking age of 21 years old, which everyone instinctively knows is nonsensical. If someone is old enough to fight, kill and die in a war, he is old enough to drink a beer in his living room. We do not need government to be our Mommy.