Posts Tagged “blue law”

My home state of Connecticut has a history of Puritan parochiality. The original three colonies which eventually became the single Connecticut colony (Connecticut/River Colony, Saybrook Colony, and New Haven), were all established by Puritans (Pilgrims), who disapproved of many practices of their time … gambling, drinking, observing Christmas, and more. To a Puritan, pretty much everything which wasn’t either work or church attendance was an evil vice to be avoided at all costs. And while they retained political power, they prohibited even non-Puritans living within their domains from engaging in any of these vices — hence Connecticut’s infamous Blue Laws, vestiges of which remain on the books even now. Granted, this state is no longer run by Puritans — and hasn’t been since before the U.S. was founded — but Connecticut nevertheless retains a sometimes-furious Puritanical streak that continuously reasserts itself.

An example of this “modern-day religious Puritanicalism” can be seen in this story about the city of New Haven allowing bars to remain open another hour, every night, in order to ease congestion (as reported by WVIT-TV in Hartford):

People who have partied in the bars along Crown Street in New Haven can tell you what closing time is like. …

To cut down on the chaos, Town Green Special Services District Director Rena Eddy recently floated the idea of letting the bars stay open an hour later, until 3 a.m. …

But staying open later won’t mean more time to drink. If the proposal happens, last call would still be at the same time, but bars would have until 3 am. to serve food and soft drinks, before getting people out the door.

Giving people an hour to get out of the bars rather than just a couple of minutes, seems like a reasonable way of dealing with this congestion and havoc. But the churches of New Haven are having none of this:

At a forum on violence in the Elm City, organized by the Christian Community Comission Brotherhood Leadership Summit, reaction was to the proposal was immediate Wednesday night.

“That’s terrible,” said CCC Executive Director Minister Donald Morris.

Morris doesn’t overtly state that his objection to this is religious, but he does cite a reason which — in the end — has nothing to do with the problem:

Morris said the timing is also bad, given the murder of a Hamden man last month at Sinergy, a Crown Street nightclub.

“You had a young man both shot and killed and another stabbed. We don’t need another bar and we certainly don’t need an extension of bar time,” said Minister Morris.

The reason these things happened was not due to the amount of time the bars were opened, it was due to the fact that people drink in bars and some of those people get into fights. If he’s truly interested in reducing violence among the drunks in New Haven’s bars, that might actually be achieved, if the nightly chaos caused by the mass exodus from the bars were alleviated.

But little things like rationality don’t matter much to would-be Puritan religionists, I guess.

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