In 1968, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) addressed with alarm the social, moral and spiritual consequences of alcohol abuse. At that time, we called for the enforcement of existing laws on alcohol sales, possession and use, as well as the enactment of new laws against drunken driving. In keeping with our historic stance, we also called on our churches to take seriously the national problem of alcohol use, educating their members to its dangers and encouraging them to practice abstinence.

Today, the problem of alcohol use has been so aggravated that among experts in the field of substance abuse, a growing consensus is condemning alcohol as a “gateway drug” into illegal drugs and addiction. Statistics are also mounting which show that there is a link between alcohol and crime, fatal accidents, domestic violence, family breakdown, personal debilitation and suicide. Children and youth have become both victims and abusers.

The magnitude of the problem is so great that a number of groups have emerged to fight alcohol abuse. These groups, however, are not currently supported by a significant public consensus or by the political, media, corporate or religious communities. Parents who use alcohol are caught in the contradiction of trying to be a role model for their children while failing to set an example for them.

The time has come for the National Association of Evangelicals to speak and act again in the following ways:

1. Strongly encourage those national organizations which are against alcohol use and abuse, and to join them in condemning the media message that equates alcohol with the good life for adults and which communicates to youth the message: “You can’t have fun without alcohol.”

2. Urge NAE churches to make alcohol education and ministry to alcohol victims a priority.

3. Request the media and the corporate community to join in sponsoring informative programs on the down side of alcohol use.

4. Request public figures, such as athletes and entertainers, to avoid endorsing alcohol use.

5. Promote congressional legislation that would:

a) Label alcohol as a dangerous drug which can result in personal and social harm;

b) Ban advertising of alcohol on television.

6. Urge corporate advertisers not to jointly sponsor television programs, such as the Olympics and other athletic events, with the alcohol industry.