As a result of a petition drive by Christians who oppose drinking on moral grounds, the people of Athens, Alabama will vote today on whether or not to prohibit the sale of alcohol within city limits.
It was only four years ago when they voted to allow alcohol sales. Apparently it took three and a half years for people to stop wailing and gnashing their teeth long enough to get up a petition.
If the measure passes, it will still be legal to possess and consume alcohol in Athens, which strikes me as hilarious because it means they’re essentially voting on the question “Do you want to keep $250,000 in extra tax revenue out of the hands of the city government, and another $250,000 out of the local schools?”*
Two other measures are up for referendum today: “Should Athens cut off its nose to spite its face?” and “Would you like the city to shoot itself in the foot?”
If the measure passes, those who drink will continue to do so, even if it means spending their money out of town. Those who signed the petition and led the charge for prohibition will congratulate themselves on their great moral victory against tax revenue. Ah, but their consciences will be clear: “At least I live in a town where it’s illegal to sell alcohol, and if that don’t get me some heavenly brownie points, I don’t know what will.”
The best quote in the story comes from the Reverend Eddie Gooch of the United Methodist Church, one of the petition-drive leaders who says he isn’t worried about the city losing business or tax revenue. Says Gooch: “Normal economic growth and God will make up any difference if residents dump the bottle.”
God could not be reached for comment, but he did issue this statement: “If Eddie Gooch thinks I’m shelling out half a million bucks to make up for a shortfall he’s largely responsible for, he’s dumber than a bag of hammers.”
*These figures come from Athens mayor Dan Williams in the Associated Press story.