Henry Brown, pastor of the House of Prayer by Faith "God's Hospital" church, prepares to speak to reporters while standing with other pastors and congregants from around the city in front of the government center Monday. Brown and other clergy are encouraging voters to vote against a proposed Sunday Sales referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot.
ALBANY — A group of more than a dozen clergy urged voters to kill a measure that would allow business owners to sell packaged alcohol on Sundays.
Spokesman Henry Brown, the pastor of Prayer by Faith (God’s Hospital) Church, said at the news conference at the Government Center that many pastors believe the community is only hindered by increasing the availability of alcohol and that adding another day of sales would further erode Albany’s culture.
“It is my belief that 60, 70 or 80 percent of crime committed in our community, in our state, and in our country are drug and alcohol related,” Brown said. “Alcohol is a major contributor to crime, especially domestic crimes and violent crime.”
The group said Monday that alcohol also contributes to longterm physical and emotional health problems and is a major contributor to the decay of the nuclear family.
Voters within the city of Albany will decide whether local retail businesses can sell alcohol by the package on Sundays. Restaurants can already sell alcohol by the drink on Sundays.
A study done earlier this year and released last month by the University of California Riverside contends there is a direct correlation between alcohol use and violent crimes.
According to UC’s website, researchers found a correlation between the density of alcohol outlets and violent crime rates among teens and young adults ages 13 to 24.
“These results suggest that alcohol control can be an important tool in violence prevention,” sociologist Robert Parker, one of the authors of the study, said in a statement on the website. “Policies designed to reduce outlet density can provide relief from violence in and around these neighborhood outlets. And banning or reducing the sales of single-serve, ready-to-consume containers of alcohol can have an additional impact on preventing violence.”
Brown stopped short of saying that alcohol consumption was a sin, but said that the Bible urges responsible use.
“The Bible says to do all things in moderation, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a sin, but some people lose control and leads to violence, crime and poverty,” Brown said.
Brown also took a shot at the Albany City Commission, which allowed the referendum to move forward to the voters.
“They could’ve stopped this before it ever got to the ballot, but by voting to put this on the voters, really, it’s a vote to increase crime,” Brown said.