Publisher clarifies stance on liquor-by-the-drink

  In recent days, much has been said as well as written about the liquor-by-the-drink referendum in the Elizabethton City Election on Nov. 2. Please allow me to clarify the reasons this newspaper endorses liquor-by-the-drink in our city.
  If we could vote to eliminate all alcoholic drinks in Elizabethton and elsewhere, we would use a page one story to promote its demise. Many of our readers have personally responded to our editorial, others by phone and letters (some for and some against.)
  A newspaper's first duty is to "seek the truth and print it." All are entitled to their opinion. Ours is just one, and it is shared by some and opposed by others; however, we respect the opinions of all.
  Many of those who have opposed our stand on liquor-by-the-drink have done so because of their Christian beliefs. We have no argument with them. It is a very emotional subject with many church-going people. However, when we debate the Scriptures, no one wins, especially on such a controversial subject. I do know that wine was a socially acceptable drink during Biblical times and that Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding supper. My Bible says so.
  Drunkenness is not acceptable in any society. However, anytime we over-indulge, we sin, whether it be drinking or eating. If we want to get technical about it, there seem to be many more gluttons than alcoholics in our community. For most of us who dine in or out drinking is not the problem, but over-eating.
  Many of you have told me or written that you are praying for me. For that, I am grateful. As my brother, the late State Sen. Herman Robinson, used to say, "Lord knows I don't want to go to Hell." However, I, too, can pray and have faith that God hears them.
  Strong drink has always been a problem, and it will continue to be as long as it is with us. However, a great many people who use alcohol do so with restraint. It is those that over-indulge who become a menace to society.
  Another reason for our endorsement is that liquor-by-the-drink is already available in Elizabethton at many of the fraternal organizations. A restaurant with a bar is not any different than going to a restaurant and having a glass of beer with your meal. And, we do have restaurants in Carter County and Elizabethton which serve beer with a meal. In fact, more people probably get drunk on beer they buy at a grocery store or convenience store than they do on wine or a mixed drink they have with a meal. Personally, I do not drink nor have that problem.
  It simply is a matter of not over-indulging and drinking responsibly.
  Additionally, we endorse liquor-by-the-drink because we badly need to broaden our tax base. New businesses such as restaurants can do that. There are also other economic benefits.
  Our endorsement is not a matter of being arrogant or anti-Christian. We feel that liquor-by-the drink can be an economic development tool in a town that badly needs a broader tax base, more jobs, and more economic opportunities.