By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
June 22, 2018
CRAVEN CO. – “It just goes to show that not everyone believes that if their neighbor jumps into the fire, they should too,” said. Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “The Havelock Board of Commissioners, as well as Craven County Commissioners, has made a courageous and informed decision on their rejection of proposals to allow for early alcohol sales on Sunday morning.”
According to reports from the New Bern Sun Journal, the city of Havelock’s governing body voted 3-2 against a proposed brunch ordinance on Monday, April 23rd. Craven County Commissioners voted down a proposal, 5-2, on Monday, June 3rd.
Last year, Gov. Roy Cooper signed legislation, commonly referred to as the “Brunch Bill.” The new law authorized county commissioners, town and city councils to allow bars, hotels, private clubs, and restaurants to roll back the time for alcohol sales from 12:00 noon to 10:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings – an increase of 2 hours. It also expanded the additional two hours of sale for retail sales of beer and wine in places like convenience and grocery stores. But before this authority can be granted to establishments, local governing bodies have to pass a brunch ordinance.
Towns and city councils are responsible for any changes within their jurisdictions, while county commissioners are responsible for what happens in unincorporated areas.
“The General Assembly gave the municipalities the option to do what’s right for their citizens. The majority of correspondence we had and people who showed up to give their opinion were against this measure,” Havelock Commissioner Jim Kohr told the Sun Journal. “This wasn’t going to affect business the way some have said it will, but it would present an increased safety issue. So out of concern for the safety of the citizens and respect for it being Sunday is why I voted the way I did.”
Check out the Christian Action League’s: No Sunday Brunch Bill Tool Kit
The Craven County Commissioner’s vote came about as a request from the mega grocery store chain, Food Lion, which is based in Salisbury, North Carolina. Food Lion Director of Operations, Rodney Jackson, said that Food Lion “would appreciate” the chance to serve their early Sunday customers with earlier beer and wine sales, reports the Sun Journal.
At their monthly meeting in April, members of the God and Country Christian Alliance, based in New Bern, voted unanimously on a motion to send a letter to Craven County Commissioners stating their opposition to the brunch proposal.
The letter, which was composed by the Chairman of the God and Country Christian Alliance, Gerald Schill, said:
“Many of us look back at our current culture and wonder how we got to where we are with the moral degradation and erosion of our family values. What happened? Well, it hasn’t happened overnight, but rather its been one little chip at the time, to the point where our grandparents would hardly believe what we allow and condone.
“The so-called Brunch Bill is another small chip. At what point do we have our Popeye Moment and say, ‘That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more’.
“Not all of those voting at our meeting abstain from alcoholic beverages, including the author of this letter. The big question is: Can’t we just stand for a little tad of respect for Sunday and those who believe it is a Sabbath? That alone should prompt you to send a message that Craven County believes in traditional values…
“In addition to the altruistic reasoning for our opposition, there are studies that show when Sunday alcohol sales are extended, it inevitably increases alcohol-related issues.”
Schill sent the letter for the God and Country Christian Alliance with a picture of himself holding a can of Popeye spinach, highlighting the expression once made famous from the old Popeye cartoon, “That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more.”
Dr. Creech said that what North Carolina needs is a local organization in every county like that of the God and Country Christian Alliance.
He also said, “The Sunday Brunch Law and its consequent proposed Sunday Brunch Ordinances are indicative of a general disregard for those things that are of greater value in life, the pursuit of character and nobility in exchange for the pursuit of profit and pleasure. Granted, it is not the place of government to legislate church attendance, but there was a time when the government was more respectful and supportive of religion’s efforts to produce the kind of morality necessary for a just culture and a free people. Sunday Brunch Ordinances inhibit and diminish religion’s best opportunity to flourish. To contend that Sunday Brunch Ordinances do nothing to negatively impact religion’s influence is to fail to understand religion or culture.”
According to the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s website, 23 counties have brunch ordinances, while 77 do not. Nearly 140 towns and cities have approved brunch ordinances.