A hot August summer weekend. So, who’s gonna throw back some cold ones or hit the bottle?
According to some new figures from the Gallup people, not the people you’d expect.
Officially, the Mormon church proscribes consumption of strong drinks, among other things. Yet Gallup found 18 percent of Mormons surveyed admit to imbibing alcohol at times.
The Southern Baptist church, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, also officially proscribes alcohol consumption. But an arm of that church reports about one-third of Baptists say they do drink alcohol.
The percentage of adults in this country who drink alcohol currently stands at two-out-of-three (65 percent).
That’s (perhaps understandably these days) a little higher than the historical average of 63 percent detected by Gallup since it began asking the question in 1939, six years after the 13-year Prohibition Era ended.
Self-proclaimed total abstainers now stand at 34 percent, slightly below the historical average of 36.5 percent. Turns out, those with lower education levels, blacks, Hispanics, women and senior citizens are more likely to be non-drinkers.
Anecdotally, two of the last three presidents, both Republicans, have been alcohol abstainers.
Church attendance is also an indicator of such beverage consumption. Sixty-five percent of the very religious (those who attend religious services at least weekly) say consuming alcohol is morally acceptable.
That’s 20 points less than the 85 percent who find drinking alcohol acceptable and never attend church, a notable but not huge difference.
However, data seem to show that consumption of alcohol has become less of a clear indicator of moral views in recent times as such opinions have shifted to other issues.
Different hot button moral and political issues now produce the widest gaps between the very religious and non-religious.
Subjects such as sex outside marriage, lesbian and gay sex, abortion and pornography, among others, now produce morally acceptable gaps of 45 percent or more between the sectors.