General Synod Statements: Alcohol

Alcohol and its abuse have been discussed at meetings of the General Synod since the 1940s. The 1985 General Synod adopted four resolutions pertaining to alcohol abuse:

  • To request RCA members to urge their state legislatures to adopt 21 years as the legal drinking age.
  • To instruct the Office of Social Witness to urge and facilitate local congregations to correspond with television networks and television personalities in order to discourage the endorsement of alcoholic beverages.
  • To encourage RCA members to promote legislation within their communities to ban the “Happy Hour,” i.e., the reduced price of alcoholic drinks during specified periods.
  • To instruct the Office of Education and Faith Development to provide to local congregations educational materials pertaining to the abuse of alcohol. (MGS 1985: 64-65)

In 1990, the General Synod affirmed that:

Guidelines for responsible use of alcohol are vague, perhaps in the recognition that church members differ in their views on whether abstinence is the best expression of Christian faithfulness. Several emphases are clear, however: Societal portrayals of alcohol use contribute to the negative consequences of alcohol consumption. This is especially problematic when drinking and driving are combined. The high incidence of alcoholism and its high correlation with other social problems is also noted. In order to address these concerns, recommendations include a broad range of measures: education, formation of alternative values, support for legislation and law enforcement, treatment of alcoholism, development of alternative forms of recreation. (MGS 1990: 77)