The facts behind this story are, as far as I'm aware, that our local store lost its drinks license a few months ago for selling alcohol to under-age customers. The reasonable penalty meted out to them has resulted in a somewhat draconian approach to the rest of us, but if it is effective I'll go along with it.
Meanwhile, though, I note that the government is considering revising our 24-hour drinking laws which were supposed to deliver a cafe culture but apparently made some of our town centres no-go areas at the weekend instead.
Personally, I am rather disappointed by this outcome. I remember the slightly strange pleasure of a couple of very late night drinks in both Sydney and Utrecht, and there was indeed something quite civilized about being able to drop into a pub for a swift half if you felt like it at 1.00am.
It saddens me that the British (for it certainly includes the Scots and Irish - I can't speak for the Welsh) have such a bad relationship with alcohol. For some reason, we are like the Finns, who don't know when to stop either.
For myself, I've always had what some would consider a 'liberal' attitude to drink - one of the first Bible verses I learned to quote as a new Christian was Psalm 104:15: "He makes wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine" (very useful amongst tee-total friends).
Another of my favourite quotes is from Martin Luther's second Invocavit sermon on March 10th 1522,
I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philips and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it.What a great pattern of ministry! Teach, preach, write, have a snooze and a beer with your mates. Trust the word of God to do the work of God. Now there's an idea.
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