Ghosts of Prohibition

“The spirit of the Rev. J. Frank Norris is roaming suburban Fort Worth, where fire-and-brimstone preachers straight out of Prohibition days have mounted a crusade against the evils of the frozen margarita,” reports the Star-Telegram.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Norris (who was tried for perjury, arson and murder) preached against the evils of alcohol. He supported the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), which was also a fervent opponent of alcoholic beverages.

The present incarnation of Norris is the Rev. David D. Dye, who has compared selling beer to selling weapons to Saddam Hussein. He has bought newspaper ads warning against the horror of - his emphasis - Liquor Stores. Actually, the proposal to permit legal alcohol sales wouldn’t permit liquor stores, but facts appear to be beside the point. Another opponent of alcoholic beverage sales has predicted that that permitting such sales would attract “perverts” to buy beer.

The Rev. Raymond Barber says he opposes legal alcohol sales because “I stand for moral values.... That’s what our forefathers did because we are founded on Judeo-Christian values.“ The good reverend should re-read both history and the Bible.

He would learn that alcohol is an integral part of Jewish religion and has been part of Christian tradition for two thousand years. Jesus both made and drank wine. Opposition to alcohol by some Christians is a historically recent phenomenon brought about by the temperance movement in the 1880s. He would also learn that our forefathers typically drank alcohol and that our first President, George Washington, was one of the new nation’s largest distillers of liquor. So alcohol is part of Judeo-Christian values and our national tradition.

It’s lucky George Washington didn’t live near Fort Worth.


  • Kennedy, Bud. Alcohol foes rally with gusto. Star-Telegram, 5-8-04.