Thursday, January 18, 2007
Nebraska Lawmaker: Ban Underage Wine Consumption at Mass
Here is a case of a solution trying to find a problem. Nebraska State Sen. Lowen Kruse has introduced a bill to close loopholes in state laws that allow minors to consume alcohol. Wine served as part of holy communion religious ceremonies is one of the targets.
Sen. Kruse's bill would make it illegal to allow minors to drink alcohol in their own homes or at churches during services. Catholics and several other Christian churches use wine as part of observances to replicate Christ's words at the Last Supper. The church groups are protesting the measure as a potential violation of religious rights. Sen. Kruse has said that, while the wording of the law would ban all alcohol consumption by minors in churches, he did not believe anyone would be brought up on charges if teens consumed wine as part of the rituals during a mass. Church leaders say they would have trouble knowingly violating Nebraska law during services if the bill passes.
The bill would also make it illegal for parents to share a beer or glass of wine with a meal in their homes with their own children under 21 years old. Common in many places in Europe, the practice of parents teaching children about responsible alcohol consumption by sharing beer or wine during family meals or special celebrations is one way some experts suggest Americans could do a better job educating teenagers about moderation. Sen. Kruse's bill would lump this practice together with the irresponsible behavior of a limited number of parents who allow and even assist underage children to host keggers and drink fests for fellow high school students.