The Tennessee legislature has approved a bill allowing liquor and wine to be sold seven days a week. OneNewsNow spoke with a pastor that finds that "absolutely despicable."
Pastor Dale Walker, president of the Tennessee Pastors Network, says the church and faith-based ministries are the ones dealing with the effects of alcohol after the bottle is empty.
"We want to talk about doing something about the opioid crisis, [but] alcohol is still a gateway drug," he tells OneNewsNow. "The politicians are saying We've got to do something about this opioid crisis – and then they're flooding or streets and they're flooding our areas and venues with alcohol."
In addition to allowing sales seven days a week, the bill in Tennessee – which passed on a 17-11 vote in the Senate on Wednesday – allows for booze to be sold on holidays. However, sales on Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving would not be allowed.
"There are not exceptions enough for me," says Walker. "I still certainly wanted to keep Sunday – the day of worship, the day that families are going to church – [free of sales] to try to keep the highways safe."
According to Walker, alcohol kills nearly three times as many people as guns. "There should be a massive outcry," he believes. "The only reason there is not a massive outcry is because the deep pockets of the liquor lobby shuts the mouths of the liquor-loving politicians."
The chief sponsors of the bill were Rep. Gerald McCormick, a Republican from Chattanooga, and Sen. Bill Ketron, a Republican from Murfreesboro. Ketron told The Associated Press that 40 other states had seven-day alcohol sales and Tennessee was losing money to border states. In response, Pastor Walker stated the Republican supermajority in Tennessee "has become the party of Big Liquor."
"I have never had a liquor-loving politician or a liquor lobbyist stand by the grave with me, comforting a family of a departed loved one who is in the grave because of alcohol," Walker continues. "I have never had one of them [do that], and they have nothing that they can say in a time like this to comfort that family. The only person who can do it is a man of God who knows God, who is a Bible-believing pastor and truly loves and cares about those people."
Governor Bill Haslam (R-Tennessee) has indicated he will sign the bill.