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The Ministry of Health and Healing - Contents
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    License Laws

    The licensing of the liquor traffic, it is argued, tends to restrict its evil. But the licensing of the traffic places it under the protection of law. The government sanctions its existence and thus fosters the evil that it professes to restrict. Under the protection of license laws, breweries, distilleries, and wineries are operating all over the land, and the liquor seller carries on his work beside our very doors.MHH 192.1

    Often he is forbidden to sell intoxicants to one who is drunk or who is known to be a confirmed drunkard, but the work of leading youth to become drunkards goes steadily forward. The very life of the traffic depends upon creating the liquor appetite in youth. The youth are led on, step by step, until the liquor habit is established and the thirst is created that at any cost demands satisfaction. It would be less harmful to grant liquor to the confirmed drunkard, whose ruin, in most cases, is already determined, than to permit our youth to be lured to destruction through this terrible habit.MHH 192.2

    By licensing the liquor traffic, temptation is kept constantly before those who are trying to reform. Institutions have been established where the victims of intemperance may be helped to overcome their appetite. This is a noble work, but as long as the sale of liquor is sanctioned by law, the intemperate receive little benefit from these institutions. They cannot remain there always. They must again take their place in society. The appetite for intoxicating drink, though subdued, is not wholly destroyed, and when temptation assails them, as it does on every hand, they too often fall an easy prey.MHH 192.3

    A person who has a vicious beast and who, knowing its disposition, allows it unrestricted freedom is by the laws of the land held accountable for the evil the beast may do. In the laws given to Israel the Lord directed that when a beast known to be vicious caused the death of a human being, the life of the owner should pay the price of his carelessness or intention to harm others. On the same principle the government that licenses the liquor seller should be held responsible for the results of his traffic. And if it is a crime worthy of death to let a vicious beast kill someone, how much greater is the crime of sanctioning the work of the liquor seller!MHH 192.4

    The argument for granting licenses is that they bring revenue into the public treasury. But what is this revenue when compared with the enormous expense incurred for the criminals, the insane, the extremely poor, that are the fruit of the liquor traffic!MHH 192.5

    A person under the influence of liquor commits a serious crime and is brought into court. Those who legalized the traffic are forced to deal with the result of their own work. They authorized the sale of an intoxicating drink, and now it is necessary for them to sentence the person to prison or to death, while often the family is left in financial straits, dependent on church or civic organizations.MHH 193.1

    Considering only the financial aspect of the question, it is irrational to tolerate such a business! But what revenue can compensate for the loss of human reason, for defacing the image of God in a person, for ruining children, reducing them to pauperism and degradation, and often perpetuating in them the evil tendencies of drunken parents?MHH 193.2

    People who have formed the habit of using intoxicants are in a desperate situation. Their brains are diseased, their will power weakened. Without divine help, their appetite is uncontrollable. They cannot be reasoned with or persuaded to deny themselves. When in the company of others who are drinking, a person who has resolved to quit is led to pick up the glass again, and with the first taste of the intoxicant every good resolution is overpowered. One taste of the liquor, and all thought of its results vanishes. The faithful spouse is forgotten. The children may be hungry and without clothes, but that no longer matters. By legalizing the traffic, the law gives its sanction to this downfall of the soul and refuses to stop the trade that fills the world with evil.MHH 193.3

    Must this always continue? Will souls always have to struggle for victory, with the door of temptation wide open before them? Must the curse of intemperance forever rest like a blight upon the civilized world? Must it continue to sweep, every year, like a devouring fire over thousands of happy homes? When a ship is wrecked in sight of shore, people do not idly look on. They risk their lives in an effort to rescue men and women from a watery grave. How much greater the demand for effort in rescuing them from the alcoholic’s fate!MHH 193.4

    We are all woven together in the web of humanity. The evil that befalls any part of the great human family brings peril to all.MHH 193.5

    Many men and women who through love of gain or ease would have nothing to do with restricting the liquor traffic have found, too late, that the traffic had a terrible impact on them. They have seen their own children become alcoholics and ruined. Lawlessness runs riot. Property is in danger. Life is unsafe. Accidents by sea and by land multiply. Diseases that breed in an environment of filth and wretchedness make their way to lordly and luxurious homes. Vices fostered by the children of debauchery and crime infect the sons and daughters of refined and cultured households.MHH 193.6

    There is no one whose interests the liquor traffic does not imperil. There is no one who should not do everything possible to destroy it.MHH 193.7

    Above all other places having to do with secular interests only, legislative halls and courts of justice should be free from the curse of intemperance. Governors, senators, representatives, judges, people who enact and administer a nation’s laws, people who hold in their hands the lives, the reputation, the possessions of other humans, should be persons of strict temperance. Only thus can their minds be clear to discriminate between right and wrong. Only thus can they possess firmness of principle and wisdom to administer justice and show mercy.MHH 193.8

    But how does the record stand? Many of these authority figures have their minds beclouded, their sense of right and wrong confused, by strong drink. Many are the oppressive laws enacted, many the innocent persons condemned to death through the injustice of drinking lawmakers, witnesses, jurors, lawyers, and even judges. Many there are, “mighty at drinking wine,” and “men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,” “who call evil good, and good evil,” “who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man.” Of such God says:MHH 194.1

    “As the fire devours the stubble,
    And the flame consumes the chaff,
    So their root will be as rottenness,
    And their blossom will ascend like dust;
    Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
    And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”
    Isaiah 5:20-24.
    MHH 194.2

    The honor of God, the stability of the nation, the well-being of the community, of the home, and of the individual, demand that every possible effort be made to arouse the people to the evil of intemperance. Soon we shall see the result of this terrible evil as we do not see it now. Who will put forth a determined effort to halt the work of destruction? As yet the contest has hardly begun. Let an army be formed to stop the sale of the drugs and liquors that are making people mad. Let the danger from the liquor traffic be made plain and a public sentiment be created that shall demand its prohibition. Let drunks and alcoholics be given an opportunity to escape from their thralldom. Let the voice of the nation demand of its lawmakers that a stop be put to this infamous traffic.MHH 194.3

    “Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
    And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
    If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’
    Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
    He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?”
    “What will you say when He punishes you?”
    Proverbs 24:11, 12; Jeremiah 13:21.
    MHH 194.4

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