LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - No vote urged for Initiative 1183


When it comes to Initiative 1183 folks may be interested in a bit of history.

In the 1800s and 1900s before the vote for Prohibition there was a strong push for total abstinence from alcohol by 18 churches. Prominent among them were

Catholics, Baptists, Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ, Seventh-day Adventists and Unitarians.

Pope Pius IX, who served from 1846-1878, wrote to the archbishop and bishops of Canada, "We urge you for the greater good of the faithful to strongly favor everywhere the total abstinence movement among churchmen. Become abstainers yourselves for the service of God, the church, and the faithful."

Since the repeal of Prohibition there have been significant changes in the churches with the majority of them thinking the Bible teaches moderation in the use of alcohol. But is this correct?

Older dictionaries define the word "wine" to mean either unfermented or fermented grape juice. I have unfortunately misplaced my copy from a dictionary printed in the 1930s with that definition.

In 1989 a book by Samuele Bacchiocchi was published with title "Wine in the Bible, A Biblical Study on the Use of Alcoholic Beverages." Robert Teachout, professor of Old Testament at the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary wrote about that book, "He has done a thorough and convincing job of examining the actual truth of the biblical teaching on the subject."

Here is a quote from Bacchiocchi's book, "I was pleasantly surprised to find that the positive references to 'wine' have to do with unfermented and nonintoxicating grape juice, while the negative references concern fermented and intoxicating wine. Another surprising discovery was finding Bible passages which condemn not only the abuse of wine but also any use of it at all."

2 Timothy 3:16 states, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God." I believe we need to pay attention to these words "Wine (is) a mocker, strong drink (is) raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" Proverbs 20:1.

The Centers for Disease Control reported that excessive alcohol consumption cost the U.S. $224 billion in 2006. How much would it be now? And that does not count the pain, the tragedies, the lives lost, the spouses beaten , the children neglected.

I plan to vote no on Initiative 1183. I urge you to do likewise.

Don Casebolt
College Place


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