“No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for you stomach and your frequent ailments.” – 1 Timothy 5:23
“They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor which was actually what I was eager to do.” – Galatians 2:10
Which is a larger issue for the Kingdom of God? 1) That the Georgia legislature wants to give local communities the right to vote on Sunday sales of alcohol, or 2) That on March 31, no new children would be added into Georgia PeachCare, a state health insurance program for children in poverty?
In the past few weeks, I have received numerous emails asking me to help stop Sunday alcohol sales. The emails encourage me to contact my state senator and ask him/her to stop the Sunday sale bill. These emails are the only ones I have received from the various commissions concerned with morals in Georgia, so I can only assume they believe Sunday alcohol sales to be THE primary moral concern currently facing our state.
I have not received one email asking me to contact my representatives regarding the funding of Georgia PeachCare. Is this a moral issue worthy of a call to action? If unfunded, poor children will be uninsured in our state. Fortunately, our legislators have approved using surplus Medicaid funds to supplement the federal shortfall. PeachCare will continue for now, but what happens when the reserves run out later this summer?
What about other issues before the Georgia legislature? Are there any moral issues worthy of emails that call us to action?
I’ve received no emails about a bill for stricter laws toward sexual predators making it unlawful for them to photograph minors. I’ve heard nothing about a bill to increase the state minimum wage. That bill never made it out of committee. Would an email to Methodists have made a difference for those who need a living wage? What about a bill that would give greater protections for disabled persons unable to grant consent in sexual crimes? What about $100 million that was set aside for land conservation in 2005? Did you know that money is tied up in a revolving loan fund that is attracting very little interest? That means only $4 million of the $100 million set aside is used to protect our environment.
These bills, and hundreds of others, are moving through the legislature in 2007, but it seems a bill for the Sunday sale of alcohol is the only bill worthy of a call to arms. The Sunday sale of alcohol is an attractive enemy. Agencies and commissions who fight for moral issues can raise more money for their organizations when they send out a clarion call against alcohol. I just hope we don’t miss the opportunity to speak out and act on some substantive, moral issues confronting the poor and oppressed in our state.
It is enough to unsettle the stomach. I know what Paul would prescribe – just don’t purchase it on Sundays, please.