July 20, 2010

Do Christians Interfere With Your Ability to Buy Beer?

A look inside a self-service Systembolaget in ...
A look inside a self-service Systembolaget in Södertälje, Sweden Created by me October, 2006 in Södertälje, Sweden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I live in a dry county. That means that I cannot buy beverages containing alcohol within the county because stores are not permitted to sell them. The fact that I can be in a normal county where alcohol sales are permitted in about 15 minutes makes this a minor hassle. And since I work in and do virtually all of my shopping in the nearby normal county, the hassle is barely noticeable. At least, it is until I stop to think about it.

The county in which I reside remains dry because the large numbers of Southern Baptists living here want it that way. Local business owners (especially those who own restaurants) periodically manage to put our dry county status on the ballot. The Southern Baptists mobilize on an "alcohol is evil" platform and defeat the measure again and again. So I cannot buy alcoholic beverages near my home because Southern Baptists don't think I should be allowed to do so.

Strangely, the situation is really not that much better down the road in the non-dry county. I know because I used to live there. While it was true that liquor stores were readily available and that I could buy beer at grocery stores (but not wine or anything else), there were a variety of other odd restrictions. Beverages containing alcohol could not be purchased after a certain time of day, at this was true even at stores open 24 hours. On Sundays, alcoholic beverages could not be bought and sold at all. Once again, a religious majority decided to impose its will on the rest of us.

What I describe here may seem quite trivial. But it provides an effective illustration of how the Christian majority legislates their version of morality on the rest of us and how local and state governments allow them to do so. Who is harmed by my buying a beer on Sunday? Nobody. Who is harmed by the local grocery selling beer? Nobody. And yet, we all put up with these unwarranted restrictions on our freedom.

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