Former Florida Congressman Allen West posted an anti-sharia law rant on his web page Monday because he saw a Walmart aisle where the cashier was not selling alcohol. The Congressman, immediately interpreted the “No alcohol products in this lane” sign as evidence of creeping Sharia law, because the cashier apparently had an ominous foreign sounding name, not a comforting American Christian sounding name like “Steve”.
There was a young man doing the checkout and another Walmart employee came over and put up a sign, “No alcohol products in this lane.” So being the inquisitive fella I am, I used my additional set of eyes — glasses — to see the young checkout man’s name. Let me just say it was NOT “Steve.”
I pointed the sign out to Aubrey [West’s daughter] and her response was a simple question, how is it that this Muslim employee could refuse service to customers based on his religious beliefs, but Christians are being forced to participate in specific events contrary to their religious beliefs?
Boy howdy, that is one astute young lady.
Imagine that, this employee at Walmart refused to just scan a bottle or container of an alcoholic beverage — and that is acceptable. A Christian business owner declines to participate or provide service to a specific event — a gay wedding — which contradicts their faith, and the State crushes them.
However, it turns out that West and his daughter are not nearly as astute as they fancy themselves to be. While he was patting himself and his daughter on the back for their keen observation that Sharia law has invaded the sacred checkout aisles of Walmart, it turns out a much less sinister motive was at work. The reason the young man wasn’t serving alcohol in his lane, is not because he a stealth jihadist trying to rain misery upon American Christians, but because he was under 21 years of age, and therefore not permitted by store policy to sell alcohol.
West’s post is still online, but it now includes an editor’s update stating: “We spoke to the Walmart store, and apparently employees under 21 years old are prohibited from selling cigarettes and alcohol. ” Duh. That is a policy most American consumers are familiar with. In West’s case, the Dallas Walmart was complying with company policy that prohibits people under age 21 from selling alcohol. Not Sharia law, Walmart policy.
The problem for Allen West is that he, like Bill O’Reilly and many others on the political right, has a persecution complex. He believes Christians are under attack to the point where he sees persecution where it is not happening. West has become a professional victim, who is so obsessed with the notion that conservatives and Christians are being oppressed that he has lost touch with reality.
West has so thoroughly internalized his feelings of victimization, which he somehow views a 20-year-old checkout guy not selling him a bottle of liquor, as an assault upon Christianity. Yes, there is something ironic about a right-wing Christian arguing that not forcing a minor to sell him a bottle of liquor is persecution, but in his desperation, West is unable to find any more compelling examples of anti-Christian oppression than that.
West will continue to whine about being a victim because it’s a lucrative enterprise for him. However, despite his angry protestations, just because the 19 or 20-year old with the foreign sound name won’t sell him a bottle of booze, doesn’t mean Texas is under the grips of Sharia law. Allen West should stop jumping to false conclusions. If he has an issue with the rule he should take it up with Walmart, rather than the religion of Islam. Also, maybe he should consider laying off the drinks a little, because clearly his thinking isn’t sober.
Author’s correction: In the original draft, I made reference to Texas state law prohibiting underage clerks from selling alcohol. That would apply if the clerk was under 18 years of age, but in some circumstances clerks under age 21, but at least 18 years of age, are allowed to handle alcohol products in Texas. For a full list of TABC alcohol regulations click here…TABC laws, rules and regulations.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.