Banning Water

Recently, members of the Southern Baptist Convention (my denomination), refused to hand out water to hurricane victims because the donated water was distributed by Anheuser-Busch. Below, I have included part of the article, a response from the public relations associate from the Alabama State convention, and some of my initial thoughts:
Hurricane victims who wanted water had some difficulty finding it at a relief station in Clewiston Friday. The volunteer group running a supply center doesn't like the company that donated the water, so they decided not to give it to those in line for help.

Twenty-two pallets of the canned water, distributed free by beer company Anheuser-Busch, bears the company's label – and members of the Southern Baptist Convention refused to hand it out to those in need.

Resident lined up for miles to receive food and water at the distribution point. But the water was left on the sidelines by the Alabama-based group.

"The pastor didn't want to hand out the Budweiser cans to people and that's his prerogative and I back him 100-percent," said SBC volunteer John Cook.

The SBC felt it was inappropriate to give the donation out, and they weren't happy when NBC2 wanted to know why.

"Why do you want to make that the issue? That's not the issue. The issue is that we're here trying to help people," Cook said.

No one disagrees with that, but the Red Cross says Anheuser-Busch is also trying to help.

The water has been available all along, but the SBC volunteers set it aside and few people knew it was available.

Keith Hinson responded on Steve McCoy's blog with the following thoughts:
Volunteers working with the Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief Unit honored the request of the host pastor to set aside canned water with an Anheuser-Busch logo. At no time was anyone deprived of water. In fact, there was a huge surplus of bottled and canned water available at the Clewiston relief site. There was never any disruption in the supply of water being given out to members of the public who continued to receive food, water and other types of assistance from Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief workers. It is an absolute falsehood to suggest -- as many irresponsible bloggers have -- that the Baptist volunteers withheld the basic needs of life from Floridians impacted by the hurricane. Contrary to misinterpretations of news reports, no one was denied access to water.One may disagree with the strong stand that many Southern Baptists take against the consumption of alcohol. One may even regard such opposition to alcohol as offensive.But it's impossible to say truthfully that this conviction caused any inconvenience or shortage for victims of Hurricane Wilma. The facts are exactly the opposite.The fact is that virtually all of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers serve selflessly -- taking time away from employment and family to minister in the name of Jesus Christ. Churches such as First Baptist Church, Clewiston, graciously serve as host sites -- providing a place where food, water and other necessities of life may be obtained by anyone in need -- without regard to religion or any other demographic consideration.
Although Mr. Hinson states that the Baptist did not withhold the "basic needs of life from Floridians impacted by the hurricane," a question still remains: would they have withheld the "banned water" if it was the only water available? I am currious to know how you would have handled this situation? Would you have participated in the ban or would you have passed out the water? I believe the volunteers actions relate directly to the SBC's strong "teetotal" stance on alcohol. While I agree that it may be wise to abstain from consumming alcohol in some situations, I do not think that we have any biblical rational for 1. totally banning the consumation of alcohol (Communion anyone?) or 2. refusing to pass out water from a beer company. According to an update on the NBC2 site, at least two of the SBC workers chose to pass out the water with Red Cross workers.


Eric said...

As a side note: Coca-Cola ownes Bacardi and Dasani water. I wonder if they passed out any of this water?

Amy said...

It is sad to me as I read this article that we who are Christians, doing work in Jesus Christ's name that we would be so bothered by a logo on a can of water that we wouldn't pass out the water generously along with every other can of water. Keith Hinson, of the SBC Alabama Association of MIssions made the point that at no time was there a shortage of water, all needs were met. But you see that's not the point. Have we as Christians particularly Southern Baptist become so SCARED of alcohol or anything to do with alcohol that we would deliberately not pass out water because it came from a beer manufacturer. When will we as Southern BAptist stop stripping Christians of there liberty in Christ. NO WHERE in scripture will you see written don't drink alcohol. Yes, don't get drunk, but if I hear another pastor get up in the pulpit and preach you shouldn't drink alcohol, if you do you don't love Christ. I mean come on, I have heard the argument over and over that drinking is a stumbling block for those who aren't Christians, let's stop and think about that for a minute. I mean a non-Christian, who probably drinks sees us drinking and they think, man, I don't want to be a Christian because they drink alcohol. How illogical does that sound? VERY! I have a past of drinking, a dark past of drunkenness, I know what alcohol can do to you, but I also know that through Christ I am a new Creature, and I have the liberty to drink as long as I stay within HIS perameters. It's like sex, many people fall into the temptation before submitting to Christ as Savior, but afterwards do they just say, well before I was saved I was a tramp so now I won't have sex with my husband. Of course not, Sex is something beautiful, to be shared between a husband and wife, and to say no just because they had sex before they were married would be out of the context of what God has called for a husband and wife to share. I belive that it is time for Southern Baptist particularly to start looking at scripture as having Liberty in Christ. Please I'm asking all Southern Baptist pastors and any other pastors to stop making the body of Christ to feel as though they have sinned because they drank a glass of champagne at their wedding, please embrace what liberty's God has given those in Christ.

Travis said...

Man I don't know where to begin. Amy has some good examples of the legalism going on here, and its a shame that this event was spun by the media to portray Christians as hyperfundementalist-extremists. Basically I think most southern baptists who buy into this anti-alcohol legalism never bother to question the foundation for their beliefs, they've just been spoonfed this propaganda their whole life, and therefore adopt the same beliefs. It goes back to people being lazy and ignorant, and not wanting to search for the truth of these matters for themselves. And the sad thing is that they've created these fake sins such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and saying curse words instead of focusing on the true nature of the depravity of man. Instead of focusing on the fact that we have been breaking the commands of God and living as if the Creator of the universe didn't exist, many focus on the outward "sins" of alcohol or other legalistic "sins" which may not be sins at all, and at best only invoke a false sense of guilt instead of illuminating their depravity. This is such a huge problem because it distorts a huge part the gospel of Christ, who came to save sinners from what is truly sin*, not proselytize people into their desired form of legalism.

*truly sin: Romans 1:28-32: And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

LiuMai said...

I say we just kill'em. 'Nuff said.

Jon said...


Jon said...

YES!!!!! Finally the post a comment thing is working for me!

I agree. Drinking in and of itself is not a sin. But if one believes it is a sin to him it is a sin.

Christ well not be disappointed in a Christian if a water bottle given in the name of Christ for his Glory has the name "Busch" on it. The piovtal name in this scenario is Christ and if done for him it is right.