In some parts of the United States prohibition never ended – but how much longer can the remaining “dry” counties stay alcohol-free?
It was known as the noble experiment.
A law prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages had been the dream of temperance campaigners in the United States since the early 19th Century.
When prohibition came into force, in 1920, saloons across the country were boarded up and the streets foamed with beer as joyful campaigners smashed kegs and poured bottles down the drain.
I have to admit, so far this is kinda new to me. Maybe I’m being ignorant but I thought Prohibition ended awhile ago. What wasn’t surprising was the huge force that the local church seems to be in keeping alcohol banned…
The town has been dry for as long as anyone can remember – apart from a few giddy years following the repeal of national prohibition – and the local Baptist churches fought hard to keep it that way.
In a roadside tableau outside a Christian mission, a dummy of a homeless man, his disembodied legs sticking out of a tent next to an empty beer bottle, reminded passing motorists of the damage booze can do. “Homeless vote no beer – get saved” read a cardboard sign.
Church groups went to great lengths to warn about the dangers of alcohol
But dry campaigners argue that the whole area is in need of jobs and investment and more freely available booze is not the answer.
“If it takes a town of drunks and people that drink to be prosperous, we are going in the wrong direction,” said Williamsburg schoolteacher Matthew Ratliffe.
“We want to be prosperous, certainly, but we don’t think alcohol is the way to do that.”
Like many of his fellow dry campaigners, Ratliffe has experience of alcoholism in his family but he also believes the Church has a duty to protect the morals of the local community.
“I do have a moral obligation as a follower of Jesus Christ to be against alcohol,” said the 32-year-old former police officer.