Church 'Spiritually Opposed' to Neighbor's Liquor License Request

A church in Queens, N.Y., is trying to prevent a hookah lounge next door from being able to serve beer and wine because alcohol is unacceptable "in God's sight."

At a community board meeting where a vote on whether or not NEBU hookah lounge will be able to seek a wine and beer license, the Rev. Dan Shafer of All Nations Baptist Church opposed NEBU's request.

"Spiritually, we oppose what they're doing. It's kind of a sad commentary on society," Shafer told the New York Daily News.

The New York State Liquor Authority does not award licenses for hard liquor within 200 feet of a house of worship or a school. However, there are no such rules for establishments looking to serve just beer and wine.

Nevertheless, some feel that having any type of alcohol – whether it’s whiskey or merlot – too close to a church can be harmful.

"To have it near a school or a church puts the worshipers and the students of that school in not a good environment," local Assemblyman Mike Miller said.

The lounge’s owner, Yunior Espinal, has offered to not sell any alcohol during church services. However, the Rev. Shafer is going ahead with the complaint.

According to a community board member who chairs the committee that votes on beer and wine applications, it is most likely Espinal’s request will be rejected.

Whatever the board decides, it will not be a deciding factor on whether or not Espinal will be able to sell alcohol next door to the church.

The State Liquor Authority only requires that a potential vendor notify the community board, which sends its recommendation to the state for a final decision.

According to New York Restaurant Insider, a magazine about the New York restaurant industry, the 200 foot rule has "few and very limited exceptions."

The only exceptions are when the church is around the corner from the establishment and not on the same street or when the building housing the church is also used for non-church purposes.

The Christian Post was unable to obtain a comment from representatives of NEBU lounge and All Nations Baptist Church.