The only explanation I can come up with for this is that Baptists must live in some kind of parallel universe. According to today’s Baptist Press, Baptists in Texas, and presumably everywhere else, are mobilizing their forces to protest a grave new threat to their youth. What horror could possibly be the cause of this dire situation that threatens not only their very way of life, but the very lives of their children? Apparently the theme park in Arlington, near Dallas/Fort Worth, Six Flags Over Texas, has applied for — gasp — a liquor license in order to sell beer at certain locations in the park.
Now I don’t want to make light of someone else’s cherished beliefs, but listen to what the Baptist Press is reporting:
“Do we really want to send our youth groups — our church youth groups — to places where alcohol is served?” local Christian leader Linda Rosebury asked in an interview with KCBI-FM, the radio station of Criswell College in Dallas.
Do you mean the world? Because the last time I checked alcohol could pretty much be found anywhere you look. Have they heretofore been living in some Utopian fantasyland where there is no alcohol, like Iran? Can they really be saying anywhere that alcohol might be found is a dangerous place? Yes, apparently.
The sale of beer, Rosebury said, threatens the park’s image as a safe place for families.
So the real world, where beer is sold each and every day, is unsafe? If so, why are those families still there? Do people really walk around, see some heathen drinking a beer, and decide that it’s no longer a safe place? I’m pretty sure that you could live right next door to someone who drinks and still feel perfectly safe. In fact, my own next-door neighbor no longer drinks, and I believe he doesn’t feel that I’m a threat by virtue of my proximity to him in any way, shape or form.
You can even get a beer at Disneyland, and if they can pull it off and maintain their annoyingly hypocritical squeaky clean image, why not Six Flags? Perhaps Disneyland is not part of the Baptist parallel world?
I realize I’m probably being insensitive, but I can’t help myself. I find this sort of nonsense so patently ridiculous that I can’t really take it seriously. If you don’t want your child to even “see” a beer, don’t let him go to Six Flags, make him a shut-in. Shield him from every imagined horror you perceive out there in the world. I’m sure he’ll turn into a terrific young man or woman, with no problems whatsoever. I would personally never abuse my own kids in that way, but I’m not about to tell you how to raise your children.
As of January 8, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has gotten 600 phonecalls and twelve letters of protest regarding Six Flags ability to sell beer to adults. On February 17, state officials will decide whether or not to hold a public hearing on their application and the Baptist Church is trying to get enough of its members to complain so that they’ll have the hearing.
Some of the current complainers are urging the TABC to “conduct an alcohol impact study to determine the threat to public safety.” Isn’t beer sold enough other places in the universe, including many other theme parks, that we can figure out with reasonable certainty what the impact would be? It would be zero, of course.
The people from Six Flags, naturally, have “pledged that such sales would be handled responsibly and would safeguard guest safety,” just like every other public place that serves such legal beverages as beer. In their own defense, Six Flags also offered the following.
Noting the park’s pledge to offer quality guest services, John Bement, Six Flags in-park services senior vice president, told the Southern Baptist TEXAN, “For quite some time, many of our guests have requested beer as an option while dining or visiting the park. In fact, several of the parks in the Six Flags system already provide such amenities and have done so successfully and responsibly for many years.”
How utterly reasonable. I’m sure that will mollify the faithful. Hardly, an attorney from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention spells out exactly how to lodge a protest, and even offers some helpful legal arguments that one can use in their complaint.
Heaven forbid anyone with a different view of the world might want to go to Six Flags. Apparently this is their world, the rest of us just drink in it.