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Preaching on Tobacco Road
  1. PO Box 133
  2. Wilmore, Kentucky 40390, USA;

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    My wife Becky and two sons moved with me from southeast Alabama to Kentucky in January 1989, so I could attend a seminary. In June I was assigned two United Methodist churches about 120 miles southwest of the seminary. Almost all of my church people raised tobacco or worked with it in some capacity. My life was so busy that I decided to start walking the 12 miles from where we were staying to the church, to try to listen to God. During this walk I discovered notices in business windows about a local celebration of the traditional annual Tobacco Day festival. I read how the local kids were involved in different tobacco contests, such as processing and handling, as well as the “spit contest”. While walking past this sign, I would think how wrong this was, and how I should raise this concern in a preaching message. But I also reflected how risky it would be, and how it would probably alienate me from some of the members. While walking through this small town and on the country roads, I began to build relationships with people. The tobacco message continued to burn in my heart, but it seemed like I was running from it.

    The Temperance League of Kentucky addresses the issues of alcoholism and other alcohol-related problems, gambling, pornography, and other moral and spiritual issues. After searching its literature and finding nothing about tobacco, I wrote to the executive director, Reverend Claude M Witt, asking why this “killer product” was not included in their attacks. Reverend Witt replied:

    “Thank you for your recent letter and concern about tobacco. The Temperance League does oppose the use of tobacco and we discourage its use. We have found that other organizations such as American Lung Association and American Heart Association have …

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