anna

Friday, June 24, 2016

Free Will and Flying Pigs

OMG, - well I may as well continue given I have already used the Lord's name in vain. The sky is going to fall, pigs are going to fly, Hell is going to freeze over, frogs are growing hair, and chicken are cutting teeth. It is the end of the world as we know it and the onset of Armageddon. I just read in my local paper that my home county is going to put the choice to repeal some of the Blue Laws on the ballot for the November election.

The electorate of the county is going to be able to exercise their free will and vote as to whether or not alcoholic beverages can be sold in stores and served in restaurants and bars on (gasp) Sunday. Prior to this the thought was that denying citizens this sin would keep the Sabbath Holy and put more people in the church pews Sunday morning. Of course these believers are also the ones who frown upon dancing, women in the clergy, and believe John Scopes was sent to poison young peoples' minds.

Some background here - in South Carolina we are still operating under Blue Laws, some that were enacted as early as 1691, and others that were added in the 1960's and 70's. A "Blue Law" is defined as "a strict religious law, particularly one preventing entertainment or leisure activities on a Sunday". While some counties have prevailed upon their brethren and voted to do away with these laws years ago, my county would have no part of it. 

I grew up under these draconian, old fashioned, out of date, provincial, and, in my humble opinion, ridiculous laws. Not only is one not allowed to buy, sell, or serve alcoholic beverages, the prohibition goes on to cover (and I quote from the SC Code)

"Clothing and clothing accessories (except those which qualify as swimwear, novelties, souvenirs, hosiery, or undergarments); housewares, china, glassware, and kitchenware; home, business and office furnishings, and appliances; tools, paints, hardware, building supplies, and lumber; jewelry, silverware, watches, clocks, luggage, musical instruments, recorders, recordings, radios, television sets, phonographs, record players or so-called hi-fi or stereo sets, or equipment; sporting goods (except when sold on premises where sporting events and recreational facilities are permitted); yard or piece goods; automobiles, trucks, and trailers."

So, if I interpret this correctly,  tacky tee-shirts, items at a ballgame, any gaudy cup or plate with the name of a tourist trap slapped on it, swim suits, "novelties", hosiery, and undergarments are exempted. Go figure. All the while a generic coffee cup, plain white plate, or sweater is forbidden. 

Many many years ago when I was a little girl, my Daddy's drug store would open in the afternoon after church one Sunday a month  There were four local drugstores and they rotated so that each opened every 4th Sunday. (I guess to spread the sin around.) As a little girl it was not unusual for me to be with Daddy in the store on a Sunday afternoon. It was awfully confusing to my little mind that I could sell batteries and film but not the camera. A patron's Coca-Cola could be served in a paper cup but not a glass (since they would be purchasing the glass to go home with them.). 

So now, we the people, have a chance to bring the county out of the 19th century. We may no longer have to explain to perplexed visiting diners why they cannot enjoy an adult beverage with their meal. Up until a year or two ago, the local Walmart caved to the persistence of a group of local pastors and would rope off the areas of the store that contained "contraband" with yellow nylon rope, less the weak be tempted. 

There is much ado about our quaint Blue Laws. And if we prevail and have them repealed, we can go to work on some other issues that are still on the books. An example would be the requirement for men to carry a rifle to church. Gypsies beware, one needs to be a genuine licensed fortune teller in the state of South Carolina to tell someone’s fortune.

But my favorite is this: "All malt beverages containing not more than 5% alcohol by weight and all wines containing not more than 21% alcohol by volume "are declared to be nonalcoholic and nonintoxicating." Now, seems my favorite oaky chardonnay runs around 13.5%. All this time I have been denied a glass of wine on Sunday and only now do I learn that, in fact, my libation of choice is declared to be nonalcoholic and nonintoxicating by law.

Of course, the people may stay the course of the persistent pastors and the measure may fail to pass. Folks, lets face it, it's not as if we are deciding whether or not to leave the Euro-Zone. This is simply a matter of not looking like the Puritans at the witch trials. 

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