Liquor Problem and Our Youth

In this article we want to call attention to the great need for tem­perance education among the young people and children whom God has committed to our care.

By W. L. BARCLAY, Departmental Secretary, British West Indies

In a previous article we discussed the relationship of temperance reform as an im­portant phase of evangelism, stressing our re­sponsibility to the drinker. In this article we want to call attention to the great need for tem­perance education among the young people and children whom God has committed to our care.

Seventh-day Adventist youth are not immune to temptation, and, unfortunately, some of them yield to it. Recently I visited a young man in the reformatory. He had been reared in a Seventh-day Adventist home. He attended church school, Junior camp, and Sabbath school. At fourteen years of age he had begun drifting. At twenty-one he had been impris­oned four different times and received sentences totaling more than twenty years. He told me that drink had played a big part in his down­fall. His is not an isolated case. All of us have met similar young men. With the light we have on the-liquor question it is our responsibil­ity to give our young people and children the right kind of training along this line. If we fail God will call us to account.

"Instruction in this line should be given in every school and in every home. The youth and children should understand the effect of alcohol, tobacco, and other like poisons, in breaking down the body, be­clouding the mind, and sensualizing the soul. It should 'be made plain that no one who uses these things can long possess the full strength of his physi­cal, mental, or moral faculties."—Education, p. 202.

Once a month at least a part of tile young people's meeting could be devoted to temper­ance. A good story, or a demonstration of the effects of alcohol, conducted by a doctor, would be worthwhile. The young people could be asked to make a study of the alcohol problem and report their findings. Young people enjoy giving temperance programs. Scimetimes they have been invited to give these programs in other churches. More children should be en­couraged to sell the temperance number of Our Little Friend.

Not only do we have a responsibility to our own children, but we have .a responsibility for our neighbors' children. We are our brother's keeper. Wisely but definitely we can insist that every school in the land should teach the evils of alcohol. Children are entitled to know the truth. Some States require that this type of education be included in the school curriculum, usually beginning in the fifth grade. The suc­cess or failure of this phase of education de­pends on the knowledge and attitude of the teacher. For this reason our ministers should try to find opportunities to address public school students on the subject of temperance, and give simple demonstrations showing the effects of alcohol on seeds, plants, goldfish, whites of eggs, raw meat, bread, etc. These experiments are easily carried out, and make a lasting impression on the minds of the stu­dents.

Sometimes it is not easy for our ministers to obtain appointments to speak to school audi­ences or to other churches, but there are several ways that may help. One has been mentioned in a previous article: take an active part in temperance campaigns conducted by Ministe­rial Associations. This will give contacts in other churches. If there is a State temperance organization in your State, do not hesitate to offer your services. Usually these organiza­tions send their speakers to churches of every denomination. If our ministers work with others, this may open up an opportunity for us to speak in these other churches, and thus become acquainted with teachers and high school superintendents among their members. Such an opportunity, wisely handled, can lead to invitations to speak in public schools. '

Another method that will sometimes secure invitations is to encourage our church members to become members of the W.C.T.U. Usually these local women of good standing can and will use their influence to obtain appointments for our ministers.

Today the liquor industry is wielding a strong influence in America. The secret of its influence is advertising. A gigantic advertis­ing program is seeking to make drunkards of our youth. The Watchman-Examiner of Au­gust 16, 1945, states: "One hundred companies consisting of distilleries, breweries, and win­eries spent in one year in advertising their products $34,283,862 through newspapers. magazines, farm journals, and chain radios. This does not include other media, of which there are quite a number."

Cunningly, the liquor industries do not di­rectly advertise their product, but great em­phasis was placed on the name or brand of the liquor. The liquor industries never advertise the results of their product on the drinker. It is our responsibility to tell the young people of America the truth. and protect them from danger, damage, and 'death in the bottle. The temperance forces should also advertise. At strategic places on the highways, attractive signs could be placed. In Texas, the W.C.T.U. had signs placed on the main highways which carried the statement, "If you drive, don't drink. If you drink, don't drive." The Mich­igan Conference and churches used thirty-four large billboards along the highways very effectively in this cause. (See "Depopularizing" the Liquor Appeal," MINISTRY, January, 1946.)

In one town in Minnesota all the churches have banded together and decided to put forth a united effort to educate the people on the evils of liquor. A fund has been raised in these churches to buy advertising space in local newspapers. The editor has agreed to elimi­nate the liquor advertisements if the churches will take the space used by the liquor interests. These churches have agreed to take this space for three years. Three years of proper tem­perance education should get results,

We should spend more time educating our children and young people on the liquor prob­lem. We should study this problem more thoroughly. We should learn all the facts we can about it, and tell them to others. Our children, our homes, our country, perhaps our salvation, may be affected by our relationship to this evil. God has indicted the liquor curse. Temperance is an integral part of our Christian teachings. It should be an inseparable part of our evangelism for youth.

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By W. L. BARCLAY, Departmental Secretary, British West Indies

February 1947

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