Section 2—Alcohol and Society

Chapter 1—An Incentive to Crime

Crime Is in the Land—In these days when vice and crime of every form are rapidly increasing, there is a tendency to become so familiar with existing conditions that we lose sight of their cause and of their significance. More intoxicating liquors are used today than have ever been used heretofore. In the horrible details of revolting drunkenness and terrible crime, the newspapers give but a partial report of the story of the resultant lawlessness. Violence is in the land.—Drunkenness and Crime, 3. Te 23.1

The Testimony of the Judiciary—The relation of crime to intemperance is well understood by men who have to deal with those who transgress the laws of the land. In the words of a Philadelphia judge: “We can trace four fifths of the crimes that are committed to the influence of rum. There is not one case in twenty where a man is tried for his life, in which rum is not the direct or indirect cause of the murder. Rum and blood, I mean the shedding of blood, go hand in hand.”—Drunkenness and Crime, 7. Te 23.2

High Percentage of Crime Attributable to Liquor—Nine tenths of those who are taken to prison are those who have learned to drink.—The Review and Herald, May 8, 1894. Te 23.3

Sequence of Drinking and Crime—When the appetite for spirituous liquor is indulged, the man voluntarily places to his lips the draft which debases below the level of the brute him who was made in the image of God. Reason is paralyzed, the intellect is benumbed, the animal passions are excited, and then follow crimes of the most debasing character.—Testimonies for the Church 3:561. Te 23.4

Why Alcohol and Crime Are Related—Those who frequent the saloons that are open to all who are foolish enough to tamper with the deadly evil they contain, are following the path that leads to eternal death. They are selling themselves, body, soul, and spirit, to Satan. Under the influence of the drink they take, they are led to do things from which, if they had not tasted the maddening drug, they would have shrunk in horror. When they are under the influence of the liquid poison, they are in Satan's control. He rules them, and they co-operate with him.—Letter 166, 1903. Te 24.1

Nature of Crimes Committed Under Alcohol—The result of liquor drinking is demonstrated by the awful murders that take place. How often it is found that theft, incendiarism, murder, were committed under the influence of liquor. Yet the liquor curse is legalized, and works untold ruin in the hands of those who love to tamper with that which ruins not only the poor victim, but his whole family.—The Review and Herald, May 1, 1900. Te 24.2

Houses of prostitution, dens of vice, criminal courts, prisons, almshouses, insane asylums, hospitals, all are, to a great degree, filled as a result of the liquor seller's work. Like the mystic Babylon of the Apocalypse, he is dealing in “slaves, and souls of men.” Behind the liquor seller stands the mighty destroyer of souls, and every act which earth or hell can devise is employed to draw human beings under his power. Te 24.3

In the city and the country, on the railway trains, on the great steamers, in places of business, in the halls of pleasure, in the medical dispensary, even in the church on the sacred Communion table, his traps are set. Nothing is left undone to create and to foster the desire for intoxicants. On almost every corner stands the public house with its brilliant lights, its welcome and good cheer, inviting the workingman, the wealthy idler, and the unsuspecting youth. Day by day, month by month, year by year, the work goes on.—Drunkenness and Crime, 8. Te 24.4

The Drinker Not Excusable—While intoxicated, every degree of crime has been committed, and yet the perpetrators have been excused in many instances, because they knew not what they were doing. This does not lessen the guilt of the criminal. If by his own hand he puts the glass to his lips, and deliberately takes that which he knows will destroy his reasoning faculties, he becomes responsible for all the injury he does while intoxicated, at the very moment he lets his appetite control him, and he barters away his reasoning faculties for intoxicating drinks. It was his own act which brought him even below the brutes, and crimes committed when he is in a state of intoxication should be punished as severely as though the person had all the power of his reasoning faculties.—Spiritual Gifts 4a:125. Te 25.1

Drunkenness and Crime Before the Flood and Now—The evils that are so apparent at the present time, are the same that brought destruction to the antediluvian world. “In the days that were before the Flood” one of the prevailing sins was drunkenness. From the record in Genesis we learn that “the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Crime reigned supreme; life itself was unsafe. Men whose reason was dethroned by intoxicating drink, thought little of taking the life of a human being. Te 25.2

“As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The drunkenness and the crime that now prevail, have been foretold by the Saviour Himself. We are living in the closing days of this earth's history. It is a most solemn time. Everything betokens the soon return of our Lord.—The Review and Herald, October 25, 1906. Te 25.3

God's Judgments in Our Day—Because of the wickedness that follows largely as the result of the use of liquor, the judgments of God are falling upon our earth today.—Counsels on Health, 432. Te 26.1

San Francisco's Object Lesson—For a time after the great earthquake along the coast of California, the authorities in San Francisco and in some of the smaller cities and towns ordered the closing of all liquor saloons. So marked were the effects of this strictly enforced ordinance, that the attention of thinking men throughout America, and notably on the Pacific Coast, was directed to the advantages that would result from a permanent closing of all saloons. During many weeks following the earthquake in San Francisco, very little drunkenness was seen. No intoxicating drinks were sold. The disorganized and unsettled state of affairs gave the city officials reason to expect an abnormal increase of disorder and crime, and they were greatly surprised to find the opposite true. Those from whom was expected much trouble, gave but little. This remarkable freedom from violence and crime was traceable largely to the disuse of intoxicants. Te 26.2

The editors of some of the leading dailies took the position that it would be for the permanent betterment of society and for the upbuilding of the best interests of the city, were the saloons to remain closed forever. But wise counsel was swept aside, and within a few short weeks permission was given the liquor dealers to reopen their places of business, upon the payment of a considerably higher license than had formerly been paid into the city treasury. Te 26.3

In the calamity that befell San Francisco, the Lord designed to wipe out the liquor saloons that have been the cause of so much evil, so much misery and crime; and yet the guardians of the public welfare have proved unfaithful to their trust, by legalizing the sale of liquor.... They know that in doing this, they are virtually licensing the commission of crime; and yet their knowledge of this sure result deters them not.... The people of San Francisco must answer at the judgment bar of God for the reopening of the liquor saloons in that city.—The Review and Herald, October 25, 1906. Te 26.4

Significance of Present-Day Conditions—Notwithstanding the many evidences of the increase of crime and lawlessness, men seldom stop to think seriously of the meaning of these things. Almost without exception, men boast of the enlightenment and progress of the present age. Te 27.1

Upon those to whom God has given great light, rests the solemn responsibility of calling the attention of others to the significance of the increase of drunkenness and crime. They should also bring before the minds of others the Scriptures that plainly portray the conditions which will exist just prior to the second coming of Christ. Faithfully should they uplift the divine standard, and raise their voices in protest against the sanctioning of the liquor traffic by legal enactment.—Drunkenness and Crime, 3. Te 27.2