'Morality, not politics'
Churches step up anti-liquor campaign
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Keeping liquor out of Hartselle is a moral issue, not a political one, according to Church of Christ minister Phillip Hines.
"We're concerned about the quality of life in Hartselle," Hines said. "This isn't about politics – it's about morality."
Hines and almost all the ministers in Hartselle have rallied their congregations in recent weeks to come out against the proposal to legalize liquor sales in Hartselle. At last Sunday's services, "Vote No" signs were given out at several church and for several days this week, Hines and members of his congregation gathered each morning to display their 'vote no' message to motorists on their way to Hartselle High School.
Large 'vote no' banners stretch out across the front of Hartselle Church of Christ and most churches feature anti-liquor signs in their lawns.
Hartselle voters will decide Nov. 5 if they want to legalize liquor sales in the city. The city council is currently working on an ordinance that, if sales are approved, would limit where alcohol could be sold. Those limitations could include keeping all sales at least 500 feet from a church or school.
That's not enough, however, according to Hines.
"We're aware that the city is working on an ordinance and ordinances are important, but ordinances can change as often as the council desires," he said. "We're concerned about where this is headed – to nightclubs and lounges and things.
"People move to Hartselle because it's a great town and it's a great place to raise their children and their families. Our concern is about the quality of life. There's going to be a change and we just don't want that to happen."
Rev. Reynolds Hall, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, agrees and said Christians should be involved in this issue.
"The church has an interest in matters that relate to the family and the betterment of society," Hall said. "Our goals are not only to lead people to Christ but also to promote the matters we believe in. We want to be a strong voice in the community for what we think is right."
Hines said he believes more people will become involved with the anti-liquor campaign as Nov. 5 approaches.
"What you're seeing is more and more people jumping on the bandwagon and getting on board," he said. "I think people started realizing that there were others who were going to vote no and decided to speak up. Maybe it took a church putting up a sign or two for people to stand up."