If Jesus were in Scotland he'd drink scotch, says priest

(Photo: Susann Kammerer)

Father Bill Miller knows a thing or two about alcoholic beverages, owning his own pub, and he says that if Jesus were around today, he would turn water into whatever the local drink of choice was.

The minister splits his time between preaching on the Hawaiian island of Kauai and running his bar in Texas, and has written a book called "The Beer Drinker's Guide to God" in which he talks about the connection between faith and alcohol.

He told Fox News that if Jesus were alive today, he may not necessarily have turned the water into wine, but whatever the local drink of choice was. 

"If Jesus had lived in Texas, for example, rather than Palestine, I'm pretty sure he would have turned that water into beer," he said.

And the same goes for what Jesus himself would choose to drink.  While some Christians believe in abstaining from alcohol, Fr Miller doesn't have such a take on the faith, saying Jesus would "probably drink the local beverage of choice".

"If Jesus was in Texas, he's probably drink Lone Star.  If he was in Hawaii, he might drink Primo.  If he was in Scotland, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Jesus drank scotch.  In Ireland, Guinness or Smithwick's," he said. 

Despite criticism from the religious leaders of the day, Fr Miller says Jesus drank in moderation according to his "own unique identity" and that Christians today don't need to "throw the beer out with the baptismal water".

In fact, he is enthusiastic about the opportunities the pub presents for talking about the faith with those outside the church.

"I would say that a lot of my best pastoral ministry has occurred in the bar because some people will not set foot in a chuch, but they might strike up a conversation with me in the bar," he said. 

And whatever alcoholic drink Jesus may have chosen to turn water into today, Fr Miller is certain of one thing: it would be good. 

"He had no problem with quality," he says.