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    September 11, 1889

    “Sunday Prohibition” American Sentinel 4, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the SENTINEL of May 1, 1889, we referred to a bill passed by the Tennessee Legislature, making it a misdemeanor to sell wine, ale, or beer on Sunday. In commenting upon this we stated that the bill makes it a righteous act to sell those articles on the other six days of the week. To this statement exception has been taken. A gentleman who writes that he is friendly to the work of the SENTINEL, says that he thinks it is wrong to sell intoxicating drinks at any time; but believes that if the traffic cannot be wholly suppressed, it is right to suppress it partially. We will state in brief our position, and explain the statement that we made.AMS September 11, 1889, page 261.1

    We believe that the liquor traffic is entirely wrong. We are also in favor of suppressing it to any extent that can be done, and we do not decry a measure that will actually diminish the sale of liquor, for the simple reason that it is not total suppression. We believe that even less than half a loaf is better than no bread, but we have yet to see any evidence that the closing of Sunday saloons diminishes the amount of liquor drank. But even if this could be shown, it would not at all militate against our comment on the bill passed by the Tennessee Legislature. Our comment had reference not so much to the closing of saloons on Sunday, as to the way in which the matter was put. It was stated that selling not mean that it is not a misdemeanor to sell it on other days, it does not mean anything. That it does mean to convey the idea that it is net a misdemeanor to sell it on other days, is shown by the fact that there is no penalty attached to the selling of it on other days of the week, whereas there would be a penalty if it were considered a misdemeanor. But a misdemeanor is misbehavior, wrong-doing; therefore to specify Sunday as the day on which it shall be considered a misdemeanor to sell liquor is virtually the same as saying that there is nothing wrong in it on other days of the week.AMS September 11, 1889, page 261.2

    We do not see how anyone can controvert this view, and so we repeat, as we have often said, that the great objection we have to so-called Sunday legislation is that it tends to lower the standard of what temperance really is, and tends to make the liquor traffic respectable, thus making it impossible to gain the end that is de-sired by many who are earnest temperance people, and conscientious in their efforts to stop the sale of liquor on Sunday.AMS September 11, 1889, page 262.1

    E. J. W.

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