No. 700



It’s not often that I take a fellow journalist to task over something he has written, but as a Christian, I feel someone needs to present the other side. The journalist I am talking about is Argus Hamilton, and we share the Opinion Page in at least one newspaper, probably several more.
In a recent column Argus Hamilton, byline Hollywood, made these statements: “The New York Times reports that alcohol was served at Texas recruiting parties for a high school football star. So what? You can’t ban alcohol in college football recruiting or ban wine at Holy Communion. It’s an issue of religious freedom.”
Well, I beg to differ with Mr. Hamilton, and here is my answer to “So What?” First of all he is comparing apples with oranges. Other than the fact that wine is an alcoholic beverage, with alcohol content, the two issues are completely different. When it comes to wine at Holy Communion, that is a religious issue and under the purview of each individual church or denomination. Based on the doctrine, or teaching, of each body of believers, they can choose what beverage they wish to use to symbolize the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am of the opinion that most denominations use grape juice, but I’m sure that others use wine. This is a matter of religious freedom.
When it comes to serving alcohol at college recruiting parties, it comes down to who has the authority and who makes the rules. We have a system of public education in America that seems to work well where patrons, or taxpayers, elect a set number of individuals to serve on the local school board. These elected school board members then hire the superintendent, other administrators and approve the hiring of certified teachers and support staff. These individuals make the rules and set policy, consistent with the laws of the state where they reside. When it comes to matters like serving alcohol at college recruiting parties, the taxpayers, through their elected representatives, determine the policies they operate under.
When a high school superstar athlete gets to college, they may have a more lax policy concerning alcohol, but I am sure the leadership of the college, administrators and athletic staff determine this. In view of what alcohol is doing to our culture and all students, not just athletes, why would a national columnist take the low road and not the high road? This is especially troubling in view of the fact that, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for persons between 15 and 20 years of age. Young drivers make up about 7 percent of licensed drivers, but about 16 percent of the alcohol-involved drivers in fatal crashes.
In a recent article in the Portland Press Herald (Maine), two young men face felony charges in connection with the alcohol-related death of a University of Maine soccer player. Adam Baxter, 19, died in the early morning hours of Nov. 24 in the basement of a home on Forest Avenue in Portland. Baxter, a native of England, was on break from school and was drinking with four friends. The cause of death was choking, as Baxter apparently lost consciousness and breathed in vomit. Not a pretty picture.
Many gifted athletes fail in school, college and later in life because of “off-the-field” issues, and this includes alcohol and drugs. If we can save a few of these precious kids from going down this road, it will be worth all the ridicule and scorn that society can dish out. Every human life matters.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)