I had a rather lively discussion with some friends at work today. There was certainly a diverse group. There were RC’s, Jerry Falwell “Liberty Way” types, American Baptists, Episcopalians, Non-denoms; so, it seems like all persuasions were present. Somehow, the topic of Christians or churches owning and running bars came up during lunchtime conversation. The standard arguments were made for and against the consumption of alcohol, but the fulcrum of the conversation remained stubbornly on whether it was morally right for Christians to run establishments that served alcohol. The line of reasoning that prevailed was the existence of a biblical injunction not to cause one’s Christian brother or sister to stumble. If a Christian should not live life in a manner that provides an opportunity for others to sin, they reasoned, then it was morally impossible for a Christian to own and run a bar.
I was thinking about the basis of their argument, and it seemed fair. Sure, the number of people who responsibly use alcohol vastly outnumber those that abuse it, but look at the trouble that those who abuse alcohol are actually causing for themselves and others. If you’re unsure about the costly nature of alcohol abuse check out an article from the Mayo Clinic, here. In fact, it is the general practice of the American Medical Association to recommend abstinence from alcohol, though some claim their “research” is biased and unscientific, here. The point for me, however, was not to argue the minutiae of whether a Christian can drink responsibly. The issue that stuck in my mind was that I think it is a fair argument to say that a Christian should not serve alcohol to those that abuse it.
Then a thought, an elaboration of the principle they hoped to employ in their argument, struck me. If it is unethical for a Christian to serve alcohol to an addict, is it also unethical for a Christian to serve huge portions of unhealthy, over-priced food to an addict? Should Christians own restaurants?
Think about it. Is there any longer any doubt that obesity has far surpassed alcoholism as a health epidemic? The Mayo Clinic has this to say about the obesity epidemic, here. The CDC names heart disease as the greatest contributing factor to death in the US, here. The American Heart Association says that obesity is one of the major contributing factors to heart disease, here. So, is it ethical, in the midst of a nationwide obesity epidemic (see this), for a Christian to own a restaurant?
Let the fight begin.