Indiana Excise police say a single officer cited 109 Speedway convenience stores across the state for selling beer on Christmas Day.An argument, albeit a very weak one, can be made that the ban on Sunday alcohol sales serves a secular purpose. But when it comes to Christmas, the only reason to select out that particular day for a prohibition on alcohol sales is to promote a religious belief that alcohol is an evil that should not be purchased on the day that is celebrated as Jesus' birthday.
The officer received a tip that a South Bend Speedway served beer on Dec. 25 and she began her investigation the next day, according a news release from the Excise Police.
While visiting that store, another Speedway clerk told her that she, too, had sold beer on Christmas.
That led to to the discovery that 109 stores in all had done so. Indiana law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages from 7 a.m. on Dec. 25 until 3 a.m. Dec. 26.
This law is a leftover of the legendary legislative battles Republican legislators,who were predominantly Protestant and supported prohibition, had with Democratic legislators, who were predominately Catholic and opposed prohibition. Most of the prohibition-type laws have been repealed in Indiana, but this one stubbornly remains.
It's time for a thoughtful legislator to tack on an amendment to a bill to wipe out the ban on Christmas alcohol sales. It should also be made retroactive too to wipe out this Scrooge enforcement action against the Speedway stores.
If the legislature refuses to act, a legal challenge may be around the corner. When it comes to Indiana's alcohol restrictions, the legality of the ban on Christmas sales is by far the lowest hanging fruit.