You’re not defending your rights. You’re privately breaking the law in a way that is only going to affect you. You would not be making any meaningful assault on what you feel is an overstepping of state authority. But we’ll let that go for the moment…
So–is drinking by persons under 21 a public health hazard that warrants the limits placed on drinking among 18-21 year olds by the government? It is easily arguable that it is and very hard to argue that it is not.
People under the age of 21 drink about 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States, over 90% of which is consumed during binge drinking. In terms of acute dangers, in 2010 there were approximately 189,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol. In terms of long-term risk, youth who start drinking before age 15 years are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years.
On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers. (Statistics are from the Centers for Disease Control.) Besides loss of life, excessive alcohol consumption, including excessive consumption among youth, is also a major economic burden on federal, state, and local governments, including loss of productivity, health care costs, law enforcement time spent, domestic disturbances and failures, and damage to property. Lowering the drinking age to 18 resulted in an increase of alcohol-related traffic deaths in the US, whereas raising the age to 21 again lowered the incidence of these deaths. Let’s not even start with what a lowered drinking age does to achievement and productivity on college campuses.
Because under-aged drinking has been identified as such a major public health problems of our time and because raising the drinking age to 21 has directly resulted in fewer alcohol-related deaths, I don’t think you have the principle of subsidiarity on your side when it comes whether governments have a just cause to regulate drinking among persons 21 and under. Your premise that appropriate drinking ought to be allowed is great, but the government can show you that very few of your peers drink appropriately.
Medical and sociological research points to a great deal of damage done to the drinkers and to others when the drinkers begin their drinking career before 21 years of age. Requiring parental supervision does not prevent binge drinking among young people. So while the government that has less restrictive laws than Michigan is not necessarily failing their duty to protect youth, that does not mean that Michigan is over-reaching by feeling these boundaries are necessary.
So–the question is whether or not it is a grave matter for an 18 year old to illegally consume a very modest amount of alcohol on private property and under the supervision of his or her parents. I would doubt that either a civil judge or a priest would say that it does.
Decide how much you really want to avoid sin. This is a venial sin, but it is a deliberately chosen sin, all the same, at least if you do it in the state of Michigan. Provided you are not providing a near occasion of sin to one of your peers who will not handle underage drinking as well as you would, it is the same as breaking any other law in the belief that you are not violating the spirit and intention for which the law was passed. Even secular judges use their discretion to hand out probation and a suspended sentence or a light sentence for someone who is guilty of this sort of offense.
It would not be a sin to deliberately choose to go to some state or country where you can drink legally, provided you do not offend against moral law in how you drink.