Thursday, December 18, 2008

O Adonai

I arrived at church for the Eucharist this morning to discover that baby Jesus was missing from his bed of straw in the outdoor nativity scene. No further damage done, but an empty Carling can was parked carefully at the feet of one of the Kings - another message of contempt from the worshippers of alcoholic excess who are allowed to rule our city's streets at night.

During my commute to Kenilworth I heard a radio programme about a Scottish experiment in selected cities which monitored weekend crime before during and after a period in which the sale of alcohol in all local retail outlets was restricted to over 21's Friday and Saturday nights between 5.00 and 10.00pm. There was apparently a very significant drop in alcohol related youth crime during the ban. More permanent measures along these lines are now being contemplated by the Scottish government. Is this anti-youth? Well, it appears that alcohol related crime is disproportionately high among young people, over and above under-aged drinking. It's only a minority who behave like this, but they have significant impact. They behave like this because they are suffering, often from a lack of healthy family support, suffering from the spiritual vacuum created by a world in which consumerism and materialism dominate. Loneliness, low self esteem, lack of interest and appreciation shown by elders towards the younger. - how easy it is to fall back on alcohol or drugs as the only reliable remedy for the aching void within.

It's black Friday tomorrow. The Friday before Christmas. Office and works parties all across town, thousands drinking to excess, going wild, being sick or misbehaving. It only remains to be seen whether the credit crunch tempers booze spending, or whether it's business as usual.

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