In the 105 years after the founding of our university, Abilene Christian grew from a college to a university. The first graduating class had fewer than 100 students, and today we boast more than 1,000. Along with the university’s academic expansions, the religious backgrounds and moral boundaries of the students expanded also. Students today wear shorts, dance and even drink.
Young people today think more “bad” things are permissible than their predecessors did. This is true even at ACU where many of their parents, grandparents and great grandparents were also Wildcats.
Drinking is slowly becoming normal in America. In 2008 ACU administration changed the drinking policy to allow students 21 and older to drink off-campus. One of the main catalysts for this change was students wanting to drink with their parents when they went home. Drinking is even becoming more common in Church of Christ families where alcohol is traditionally sinful.
Americans are slowly maturing in the area of responsible drinking. This nation, for decades, looked at alcohol use as a trait of bad character. In movies the dead-beat dad was always a drunk, while the successful dad was a regular Ward Cleaver.
These bad traits associated with drinking began in the early years of our country, and the draw of alcohol only grew during the Prohibition years. As a result, Americans saw alcohol as a forbidden fruit.
The law reinforced that perception when states across America set their drinking age at 21 in the 1980s after the federal government threatened to take away highway money if they didn’t.
In reality, people can drink without plunging into alcoholism or driving intoxicated. Bad things can happen, of course, but most people have the self control to enjoy a drink with dinner and then stop. Drinking in moderation is possible. As puritanical misperceptions of alcohol slowly fade, young American adults in today’s society are beginning to realize that they can enjoy alcohol responsibly. However, the stigma surrounding alcohol is fading only slowly. It continues to nag at those who desire a mature perspective on alcohol.
This needs to change.
These changes need to happen and to continue to happen. As part of the continuing changes, the government should eventually lower the drinking age to 18. As the culture evolves, the Christian community and the nation as a whole need to make an educated evaluation of drinking and reconsider the laws and attitudes surrounding it.