Women promote the values of the Temperance Movement,
circa 1890, with determination on their grim faces.
Carrie Nation stands at the front left, gesturing
to the warning poster which lays down her challenge


Jesus Christ, God Almighty,

Please bless Carrie Nation and her band
of black-bonneted harpies who stormed, hatchets-in-hands, into barrooms and saloons, astonishing bartenders and bar-keeps,
trashing bars, and reportedly frightening men and horses, in their violent propriety
and agile ferocity. Carrie called herself,
as You know, "a bulldog running along
at the feet of Jesus, barking
at what He doesn't like."

Lord, dear Lord, Carrie's intentions
were noble if misguided, and her aspirations were understandable: her first husband drank himself to death. Her flamboyance - with Bible and hatchet in hand - did much to get Prohibition Laws on the books, and to have saloons shuttered.

Almighty God, bless her well-meaning
if misdirected crusade. Her heart
was in the right place, if her hatchet was not.

Carrie died in Leavenworth, Kansas,
my home town, which was still technically dry
in my youth though you could readily get
a drink if you knew what doorbell to push.

We know now, Lord, that Prohibition opened evil opportunities for Al Capone and his fellow mobsters to create America's booming bootleg supply-line, and the speakeasy barrooms which
his gangsters supplied.




This, in turn, led to deadly gang warfare,
and ultimately to the bloody carnage
of Capone's Saint Valentine's Day Massacre,
the machine-gunning of his opponents, in 1929.

Please redeem those who died that day, God,
and forgive those who perpetrated
this deadly slaughter.

I know the powerful, intoxicating joy
of alcohol! As a teenager in technically "dry" Leavenworth, I sat one sweltering night
in the back seat of a car at the local Drive-In Movie, jovially passing a pint of whiskey
back and forth among buddies.

We continued on to Kansas City, where I have
a distinct and giddy memory of lying prostrate
on the sidewalk outside a bar, arms and legs outstretched like the Vitruvian Man, while
the side-walk and the stars above revolved
like a heavenly, or ungodly, carousel.

Sheer inebriating bliss! Fortunately for me,
I have no pro-liquor gene and I can go months,
or could go for my remaining lifetime,
without another drink. I thank You, God,
for not challenging me with alcoholism.

But I realize, second-hand, the deadly power
which alcohol can have on others.

I know also, God, and highly respect, Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in 1935
by Bob Smith and Bill Wilson. Bless them, Lord, and bless my friends Alma V., Frank T.,
John M., Andrew W., and the millions of others across the world whose lives have been saved, literally, by this movement over more
than 75 years.

You, Jesus, changed wine into Your own sacred blood which You gave us to drink. You then shed your blood for the salvation of all mankind.
Pour down your blessings on us all, Lord,
and especially on those who strive mightily
and daily, to maintain their sobriety,
and who go on bravely and successfully
with their lives.

Thank You, Lord, for this glorious life,
and for Your promise of blissful eternity hereafter. May we be inebriated
by Your Sacred Blood and Your Amazing Grace.
All this I pray to You in sober, fervent hope,


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