Should We Prohibit Use of Alcohol by Adults and Others Under Age 21 in Religious Services?

Nebraska’s underage drinking law provides two exception to the prohibition against alcohol by anyone under the age of 21: Drinking in one’s own private home and drinking at places of worship during religious ceremonies.

However democratic State Sen. Lowen Krause, a retired Methodist minister, has introduced a bill that would eliminate the latter exemption. Catholics, Jews, and many Protestant denominations  (but not Methodists) use wine in religious services.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue objects that prohibiting minors from participating in religious rites is excessive and violates citizens’ religious liberties.

“Even under Prohibition, when alcohol was denied to everyone, no one had a problem with alcohol use in religious services” protested Catholic League representative Kiera McCaffrey.

Rev. Krause says the amount of wine used in religious services is so small that he didn’t expect prosecutions from it, if his bill is passed.  However, Donohue said there is no guarantee that prosecutors would allow religious groups to ignore the law nor would religious groups be comfortable flouting the law.  In order to get the bill passed, Kraus says he is willing to make some adjustments to the bill in light of the strong objections by religious groups..

The senator, whose son was paralyzed in an accident involving a drunken driver, has crusaded for tougher laws to prohibit alcohol consumption by adults and others under the age of 21.


  • Hoegh, Payton. Senator criticized over move to restrict alcohol in church. Cybercast News Service, January 18, 2007.

Filed Under: Prohibition