Growing up in KCMO, I remember when Missouri changed its laws to allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays. My parents never drank or served anything in our home, so it didn’t affect us directly. Nonetheless, I did hear about it, and to the degree I thought much about the issue at all it occurred to me to be a sign of the times. Of declining moral standards, perhaps.
Now that I’m all grown up, I realize it’s a bit more complicated than that. Not that changing times and moral standards had nothing to do with it. In a more socially pluralistic and morally relativistic society, blue laws may strike some as anachronistic, imperial and offensive.
My problem with blue laws rests on different grounds entirely. In fact, I think such codes can be well-intentioned means of preserving and promoting our culture’s traditional Judeo-Christian values. “Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy,” and so forth. But bottom line, it’s hard to argue that government ought to restrict a buyer and seller from transacting, based on the day of the week.
There’s an effort afoot in Kansas to roll back some of the state’s liquor laws – namely, to allow groceries to sell full-strength beer and liquor (whereas only liquor stores may do so now). A supporter sent me some thoughts on the issue, which I’ll share in my next post. On the heels of the holidays and with Super Bowl Sunday coming up, this topic is ripe for discussion.