Drunkenness and Debauchery Exposed
Bryan Slaton has something in common with Lot’s daughters
The Texas House of Representatives on May 9 voted unanimously to expel one of its own members for allegedly getting a 19-year-old woman drunk to take sexual advantage of her.
Republican Rep. Bryan Slaton resigned before being expelled but expressed no remorse for his “predatory behavior” or for allegedly helping other underage women buy alcohol. Leaders of Slaton’s own party initiated the expulsion to keep him from collecting more pay. The 147-0 vote marked the first time since 1927 that a member of the Texas legislature was removed from office.
This sordid story serves as a modern-day reminder of the evils of alcohol. It is also reminiscent of the kind of sinful behavior that God Himself exposed in scripture.
The first tale of drunkenness recorded in the Bible is also the first time wine is mentioned — perhaps not a coincidence. Ironically, it happened after Noah demonstrated amazing faith by building an ark to save himself and his family from a worldwide flood (Genesis 6:13-22).
After the flood subsided, Noah planted a vineyard, made wine, drank enough of it to get drunk and then “uncovered himself inside his tent.” Noah’s lapse in sobriety led to a chain of events involving his son, Ham, that ended in Noah cursing Ham’s son, Canaan, as a servant to Noah’s other two sons, Shem and Japheth (Genesis 9:20-27).
Noah’s behavior was a God-inspired warning against consuming alcohol because of how it undermines a person’s alertness. The next account of drunkenness in scripture demonstrated how drinking lowers sexual inhibitions — and how people use that fact to manipulate others for wickedness.
After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his daughters sheltered in a mountain cave. In the preceding days, Lot’s sons-in-law had died in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:14) and his wife had been turned into a pillar of salt for disobedience (19:17, 26). With that in mind, Lot’s eldest daughter hatched a heinous, incestuous plan to ensure that Lot had heirs.
“Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to have relations with us according to the custom of all the earth,” she told her sister. “Come, let’s make our father drink wine, and let’s sleep with him so that we may keep our family alive through our father” (19:30-38). The sons who the women bore through immorality, Moab and Ammon, became enemies of Israel.
Generations later, Israel’s own behavior illustrated the connection between drinking and sexual immorality. They grew anxious during Moses’ absence on Mount Sinai and asked for a new god. Aaron fashioned one in the form of a golden calf, built an altar and proclaimed a feast day.
Having forsaken God, the Israelites embraced the feast as an opportunity to eat, drink and engage in lewd behavior (Exodus 32:1-6). No wonder the apostle Paul spoke of drunkenness and debauchery in the same breath (5:18)!
The consequences of drinking are evident in other Bible stories. Drunkenness contributed to the assassination of Israeli King Elah (I Kings 16:8-11), the downfall of Babylonian King Belshazzar (Daniel 5), and God’s ultimate judgment against the whole nation of Israel (Isaiah 28:1-8). Despite all of these anecdotes and numerous condemnations of drinking throughout the Bible, people still do it — including some people who call themselves Christians.
Bryan Slaton was one of them. He was well-versed enough in the Bible to have a Master of Divinity degree; he emphasized his religious background in his biography; and he even alluded to scripture (Genesis 1:27-28) in advocating for a tax break for Texas families with several children.
Defenders of drinking twist themselves into all kinds of theologically strained arguments to justify themselves. They point to Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:1-11) or Paul’s admonition to “drink a little wine” for health reasons (I Timothy 5:23). But to borrow and tweak a phrase from the legal world, the preponderance of scriptural evidence is solidly against drinking.
The experiences of Noah, Lot, Elah, Belshazzar and the entire nation of Israel make the ancient case against it. And the bad judgment of the young woman seduced by Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton reinforces the point in the present.
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