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 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.
One of the nuttier arguments from the far-right fringe is that Americans should fear something called "Sharia law." The basic idea is that the United States would abandon the separation of church and state -- in a bad way, not the good way preferred by the religious right -- and imposing Islamic rules on the public against our will.
To date, state-sanctioned Sharia law doesn't exist -- at least not in this country -- and the idea that the American government would impose Sharia on the populace is obviously stark raving mad, but several states have adopted anti-Sharia measures, just to play it safe.
All of which leads us to this latest report from Media Matters' Eric Hananoki, who reports that former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a Fox News contributor and the head of something called the National Center for Policy Analysis, who published a piece yesterday under the headline, "Sharia law comes to Walmart?"
It's quite a development, isn't it? First, the far-right accuses Walmart of participating in a "Jade Helm 15" conspiracy to impose martial law on unsuspecting Texans, and now poor Allen West is confronting Sharia law at a Walmart in Florida. What's this world coming to?
Actually, nothing. Allen West had no idea what he was talking about.
As it turns out, the sign at the checkout lane said, "No alcohol products in this lane," but not because of the clerk's religious beliefs. Rather, as Walmart patiently explained to the right-wing media personality, it's because the clerk is a minor.
You see, in many states, clerks under the age of 21 can't sell alcohol to consumers. Teenagers work in grocery stores all the time, so the law and employers accommodate them by creating a system in which people buying alcohol go to check-out isles with age-appropriate clerks.
I have no idea if the Walmart employee not named Steve is or isn't Muslim, but I do know it doesn't make any difference. We're not dealing with a case of Sharia law; we're dealing with a case of a paranoid conservative complaining for no reason.
Allen West eventually changed his headline from "Sharia law comes to Walmart?" to "More ominous signs of Christian persecution."
Boy howdy, that is one astute former congressman.