SULPHUR SPRINGS - For a group of pastors, “a vote against option 1 and 2 is a vote for strong families and a strong community.”
That’s the message displayed on signs throughout the city as the Hopkins County Christian Alliance ramps up efforts ahead of a November 6 vote for or against the allowance of alcohol sales.
“Our fight is not necessarily against alcohol coming into our community, our fight is for strong families; and we want to keep a strong family atmosphere in Sulphur Springs and surrounding areas. So we see it in the best interest of our community to not bring in options 1 and 2,” says Joel Tiemeyer, pastor at The Way Bible Church and member of the Alliance.
The options are for the legal sale of beer and wine for off premise consumption only and for the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only.
Early voting begins October 22.
Sulphur Springs officials this summer formally called for the items to be placed on the November 6 ballot after validating a petition with over 1,300 signatures.
Pastor Tiemeyer says their biggest concern is for those who struggle with alcohol addiction, and doesn’t want the availability of such products to be a temptation.
“People in our community have already stated to us as pastors that one of the main reasons that they haven’t fallen off the wagon yet of alcohol is because it’s not available. So by them not being able to buy it on their way home from work they have abstained from drinking it, and we know that if they can pass convenience stores on their way home or grocery stores and buy a case of beer after a bad day that they would,” Tiemeyer says.
He adds that alcohol in communities increases underage drinking and domestic violence, referring to this article by For Faith and Family.
The Sulphur Springs predicament is one several Northeast Texas cities have undergone over the last several years, as petitioners are obtaining enough signatures to bring the alcohol item before a vote. Since 2009, more than half a dozen local cities have gone from dry to wet.
Tyler citizens will also vote next month on whether to allow alcohol sales. That prompted a recent survey by Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith on whether the introduction of alcohol sales increases crime or litter. He asked officials in 25 Texas cities, all of whom replied no.
Tiemeyer added, “We’re hoping that [our campaign] has a profound impact and we’re hoping that people realize we’re not against businesses doing well we just want it done in the right fashion so that a strong community can continue to thrive.”
More information on the Hopkins County Christian Alliance campaign, which includes video testimonials against alcohol sales, is available at their website.