Folks who love their liquor will have a harder time pretending that drinking alcohol is anything but stupid, according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune.
And you don’t even have to “get stupid” to be stupid.
While the media went overboard publicizing a few studies claiming that a glass of red wine per day could slightly lessen the chance of heart attack or stroke, massive and persuasive evidence demonstrates that “drinking alcohol — any form of alcohol, even in moderate amounts — can pose a serious threat to your health.”
Science, in this case, supports common sense.
Drinking alcohol has been shown to contribute to cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and liver. Even breast cancer and colon cancer have been shown to be related to alcohol use: the more you drink, the greater the likelihood of getting it.
Lots of food products have been taken off the market that have a much smaller chance of contributing to cancer, but you don’t mess with the beer, wine, and alcohol lobby. The alcohol industry has managed to get such powerful laws on their side that they are virtually immune to lawsuits, even though everyone with a head knows that they’re peddling poison.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists alcohol consumption as the third-largest cause of preventable death in the U.S. — right after smoking and obesity.
Not to mention all the people killed or harmed by drunk drivers or angry people inflamed by alcohol.
Scientists haven’t nailed down all the mechanisms for how alcohol kills, but the main culprit seems to be liver damage. The liver is the body’s primary defense in clearing the blood of dangerous toxins. Aside from being a dangerous toxin in its own right, alcohol in any amount can cause damage to that all-important filter.
There was a time when churches — many of them Baptist — led the temperance movement and were quick to warn others of the dangers of drinking. They weren’t even afraid to call a harmful habit “sin.”
These days, we’re more likely to wink at the social lubricant and emotional crutch, or even use it as a come-on to appear more relevant.
Is that a helpful witness? Christian leaders, perhaps more than anyone, have a responsibility to tell the truth: drinking alcohol may be cool, but it’s not smart.