Tuesday, June 03, 2008


The government of Ontario suffers from profound hypocrisy. As of yesterday, all stores selling cigarettes may no longer have them on display. Cigarettes must be hidden from view on the premise that people will smoke less if they can't see the "power wall" of cigarettes. Right! As if that will make a difference.

The government, which controls the selling and taxing of cigarettes, also controls the selling and taxing of alcohol. Several times per year, the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) sends free to every home in Ontario a glossy, tax-funded, (I'm sure expensive to produce) magazine advertising all the different brands, bottles and kinds of alcohol available at the LCBO. The LCBO even has a nice web presence paid for, undoubtedly, by the tax-payer.

How does that make sense?

Further, alcohol causes more problems in society than smoking. If you smoke, you'll kill yourself. Pretty stupid but, OK, smoke if you want.

Alcohol, although it can and may be used responsibly, wreaks a lot of havoc in society. If you get drunk, and drive, you may well kill someone else. If you are a drunk at home, you will "kill" your marriage and family.

What kind of liberal addle-brained government thinking does not allow the mom and pop grocer to advertise its cigarettes while the government run liquor store can advertise, at tax-payers expense? Only in Liberal governed provinces.


Anonymous said...

Ontario is only following in the footsteps of the trailblazing province of B.C., which enacted this law shortly after we arrived here. I stopped at a corner store and commented to the clerk that it was interesting that they had to hide the cigarettes while the lottery tickets and pornographic magazines were still on full display for everyone to see. It's a strange world we live in.

Anonymous said...

I googled the name Paul Aasman and found your blog and ended up reading this post.

Interesting, yesterday I participated in a golf tournament to raise funds for the Campfire summer camp.

Not having been in the CRC circles for quite some time I was really surprised at the amount of drinking that went on, both on the course and during the banquet.

A couple of cases of beer were handed out as prizes, with one going to a group from Ottawa so that "the drive back would be easier" or words to that effect coming from the MC

Don't get me wrong it was a great day for a worthwhile cause but I have to admit I was very surprised by all the drinking.

All the more interesting then, your comments here.

You say: "If you smoke, you'll kill yourself. Pretty stupid but, OK, smoke if you want.

Alcohol, although it can and may be used responsibly, wreaks a lot of havoc in society."

I used to do a lot of both, drinking and smoking. After God saved me in 2001, I gave up smoking first and stopped getting drunk but did still drink responsibly. I finally stopped drinking totally in 2005.

I believe as Christians, considering the world in which we live, it's wise not to do either.

As we seek to be examples to the world around us, I believe God is more glorified though us as we give up our freedoms in order to impact our world with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Back to your comments though George, if smoking kills but one can drink responsibly, what would be the better choice for a discerning Christian?

I now have to find Paul Aasman's email somewhere, I wanted to let him know how much I appreciated his comments and prayer before the meal.

George Schuurman

George van Popta said...

Hey, George, it's been awhile. I hope you admonished, brotherly, those who were drink surprising amounts of alcohol.

Anonymous said...

No, actually, I kept my thoughts to myself.

I wonder though if you might answer my question.

A couple of other related questions:

1. Do you consider smoking a sin? It's pretty clear what the Bible says about our bodies being a temple of the Lord. It's also very clear from everything we know about smoking, as you say, it kills. Does smoking make any sense for a true follower of Jesus Christ? My own opinion on that is no it does not, it is clearly a sin, I don't even think it's a grey area. Those who are addicted, as they come to the Lord to seek His help in overcoming the addiction, will find Him so available to help, it's absolutely amazing. Before Christ, I did everything to try to quit, you name it I tried it. With Christ, smoking made absolutely no sense to me and the Lord helped me to overcome. It was a no-brainer.

2. Is it wise in our day and age for Christians to drink? I personally don't think so. When you consider how even one drink has an impairing effect on a person and when you consider, as you say, how alcohol abuse has wreaked havoc in our society, I personally believe the wise choice is to abstain. We shouldn't let our freedom in Christ be a stumbling block to others, Paul says. I shared my testimony once at a downtown mission and talked about how alcohol was destructive in my own life and the consequences it led to. At that time I was still drinking, you would characterize it as responsibly, I would have a glass of wine at supper or a beer when we were out for dinner, but never got drunk anymore. After I shared my story, an alcoholic came up to me and asked if I still drank. I had to admit to him that I still did but that I didn't get drunk anymore. God convicted me after that conversation that I was better off not to drink at all, so that as I now seek to reach out to the alcoholic and the addicted, I can honestly say to them that I don't do those things anymore, the Lord has helped me to overcome and He can help them also as they turn to Him in repentance and faith. We serve an awesome, forgiving God. I was so convicted after that encounter that my freedom should not be a stumbling block to someone I am trying to reach out to with the Gospel.

Thanks for your time, I look forward to your response, but if there is none, that's ok too. Not to worry, I have no intentions of going back and forth with you as I did before, that would probably be a waste of your time and mine, I just have to say, you got me thinking with this post and especially after witnessing what I did on Friday.

Have a great day


George van Popta said...

George, I would not dare to tell a smoker that he is sinning by smoking although I'd tell him that what he is doing is very ill-advised. And, if I knew him well, I'd tell him that he stinks. I'd tell him, as I regularly do, that he should quit. I'd put it on the same level as being grossly overweight or pigging out on transfat-laden foods -- not smart, but the Lord has not given me the freedom to condemn their activity as sin. As for drinking, I have parishioners who are alcoholic. When they are at our dinner table, I don't serve wine out of respect and love for them. But that does not prevent me from having a glass of wine on another occasion. Psalm 104 says that it's one of God's good gifts to man. The Lord himself served wine at his last passover.

Take care, George. Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

Hi George

I agree with you about the alcohol, although I believe that for the Christian, in our day and age, and especially for the the Christian leader, the wise choice is not to drink at all. It's not as if we need the alcohol and Christians , especially leaders, should be raising the bar and setting the example.

As for smoking it really does not make sense to me for a follower of Christ. I understand the previous generation, like my parents, (as I now watch my dad go through his health problems most of it relating to smoking) with the information they had and how everyone was doing it, Christian circles or not, but not anymore. As one comes into a relationship with Jesus Christ, smoking absolutely does not make sense. Anyone who is a true Christian, who has a smoking addiction, who would surrender that to the Lord and seek His help to quit, would receive His help in an instant giving him or her the strength and will-power to quit. As a true believer, we have the Holy Spirit residing within us, does it make any sense that He would not help us? Of course not, but it's all about surrender.

Anyways, I see you are going to Ottawa, may God guide you and lead you as you take on a new thing. Say hi to Mr. Harper, I think he's a pretty good guy. (do you think he's saved?)


George van Popta said...

Thanks for your well-wishes, George. I agree that it makes no sense for a Christian to smoke. I awakened to that in August of 1986. I came to the point where I wanted to be a non-smoker, gave it to the Lord, and easily quit. I had been a very heavy smoker for many years and had tried to quit often because I knew that smoking was bad for me. I was terribly unsuccessful, until that day in August 1986.

I'm sorry to hear about your dad's poor health. Emphysema? Wish him well for me. Although I have not spoken to him in awhile, I am very fond of him, and your mom.

Stephen Harper? I think he's a believer.

Best wishes, George.

Anonymous said...

Thanks George, I'll let my dad know. Yes, it's emphysema and so much more.