The phrase “Bootleggers and Baptists” reminds one of another time-treasured political axiom: Politics makes for strange bedfellows. During the prohibition era, these two groups of people were known to ally in their support of alcohol bans. While the preachers wanted to control the lives of others, the bootleggers wanted their monopoly on the sale of alcohol.
This is 2010, so what does this have to do with the upcoming wet/dry vote in Hartselle? If one looks back at recent history, local churches topped the list of donors on the prohibition side the last time this issue was voted upon. From the Hartselle Enquirer:
Most of the money for Families for a Safe Hartselle came from area churches. The largest contribution from a church came from Hartselle Church of Christ, which donated $3,999. The second largest donation came from Grace Church of Falkville, which donated $3,500.
Other churches making donations were: Son Rise Baptist, $250; First Baptist Church, $1,370; East Highland Baptist, $670; Southwest Baptist, $300; and First Assembly of God, $202.
The churches did more than just donate. Again, from the Hartselle Enquirer:
Keeping liquor out of Hartselle is a moral issue, not a political one, according to Church of Christ minister Phillip Hines.
“We’re concerned about the quality of life in Hartselle,” Hines said. “This isn’t about politics – it’s about morality.”
Hines and almost all the ministers in Hartselle have rallied their congregations in recent weeks to come out against the proposal to legalize liquor sales in Hartselle. At last Sunday’s services, “Vote No” signs were given out at several church and for several days this week, Hines and members of his congregation gathered each morning to display their ‘vote no’ message to motorists on their way to Hartselle High School.
Large ‘vote no’ banners stretch out across the front of Hartselle Church of Christ and most churches feature anti-liquor signs in their lawns.
Perhaps the best illustration of how extreme Hartselle prohibitionists are is best illustrated in the photograph above. To be clear to people from outside north Alabama, this isn’t some random billboard from another location or some sort of online joke. This was a real billboard which was really used to campaign to keep Hartselle dry in 2002.
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Coming from north Alabama, I’m no stranger to bootleggers, but I haven’t seen any around these parts for a few years now. If you have some pictures of moonshine or stills in Morgan County, please pass a few my way, as I’d love to include them on this site. Likewise, if you have pictures of any of the signs or billboards from the 2002 wet/dry vote, I’d love to include them on this site.