Thumb the pages of the popular magazine of the day. Any current issue will do. By that single procedure you may become a distinguished gentleman, a perfect hostess, a businessman of renown, a gallant explorer, or what have you? No need to put the brain and brawn to stretch to reach the heights. Just read the liquor ads. They are subtle, they are magnetic in appeal, they are rich and fanciful in suggestion—and damning in effect. If a journal isn't at your finger tips, look to the billboards. Their images reflect in every eye. Everywhere there's one to catch the glance of someone.
What a strange paradox! A nation of youth victorious in war, then ignominiously defeated by a hundred million dollar advertising campaign purposely designed for misery and death.
As a noble experiment, put liquor advertising to the test—you be the judge. Evidence is provided by your daily newspapers. Mark them well for a week and you will find liquor written high on the scoreboard of guilt, causing gruesome crimes, broken homes, hit-and-run drivers, embezzlements, murders, fierce fights. What are we to do ? These are not the promises of the beautiful color illustrations depicting success, luxurious homes, and prosperous associates. What a travesty on youth to glorify a destroying habit that grips with viselike tentacles, and flings away the gold and green of life.
Adventists are under special obligation to manifest a spirit of expansive activity to work a curse upon those evils' that make much of modern life cold and hard and bitter. It was my privilege to interview Henry F. Brown, a tireless temperance worker. On the theme of liquor advertising he had this to say:
"The objectives of churches and temperance groups should be to prohibit all liquor advertising; then in my opinion half the battle would be won. Could we have a law that would make it illegal to display liquor, to advertise it and thus glamorize it, few people would wish it.
"Little can be done with the present generation, but as far-sighted citizens we should determine that another generation shall not be cursed by liquor traffic, and that children shall not be deceived by the liquor barons into believing that it is nice to drink. All references to liquor should be eliminated from movies and magazine pictures. Then little difficulty would be sensed in governing growth of the habit."
Every church and Missionary Volunteer Society should contact the American Business Men's Research Foundation, which supplies mats free of charge to be inserted in newspapers. The address of the Foundation is American Business Men's Research Foundation, 53 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago 4, Illinois. Our churches could very properly participate in this worthy project. Billboards such as are sponsored by Michigan's American Temperance Society (see pictures on page 24 of the April MINISTRY), and the California Temperance Federation go far toward formulating American public opinion against the use of liquor.
Americans should energetically oppose the connection of liquor advertisements and sports, whether it be on the radio, in the newspaper, or in the magazines. Propaganda by the liquor forces that includes picturing alcohol as a food, or illustrations of pets which would appeal to children, or any recipe for using liquor, should be outlawed. One State (Oregon) has legislated against such evils.
Whisky ads picturing the most prominent, most successful men of business and science with a tacit endorsement of liquor should be opposed by every means possible. By these the reader gets the subconscious impression that in order to be an individual of distinction he must drink.
Fight liquor through education, legislation, and evangelism. Do it NOW.