Sunday Laws are Coming!
We are living in a day when the call for Sunday legislation has become almost universal. According to prophecy, these Sunday laws will become more and more increasingly dangerous to religious liberty. Such widespread agitation must be met with widespread evangelism. That is why The "Real" Great Controversy Project must continue to warn people against these things before the crisis arises. The rapid progress of the Sunday Law Movement is documented below.
"And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe." John 14:29.
France Threatens Fines for Sunday Openings
Why The French are Fighting Over Work Hours
The New Yorker, October 3, 2013, By Alexander Stille
It’s telling that in France, where several stores are fighting an order requiring them to close on Sundays, retail employees showed up at work last month wearing T-shirts that read, “YES WEEK END.” It was a play on Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, and a symbol of the fact that some in France—where shops have been barred from opening on Sundays, with some exceptions, since 1906—have lately been eyeing a more American approach to work.
In September, a French tribunal de commerce said that two big home-improvement stores, Castorama and Leroy Merlin, would face daily fines of a hundred and twenty thousand euros per store (about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars) if they continue to operate on Sunday. The retailers have said they will open despite the fines, the result of a lawsuit. People in France like to work on home improvement on Sundays, which makes it one of the busiest days for do-it-yourself stores, accounting for between fifteen and twenty per cent of their sales. Closing on Sunday could jeopardize the jobs of some twelve hundred employees, according to the Fédération des Magasins de Bricolage, which translates, roughly, as the Federation of Do-It-Yourself Stores.
“I really don’t understand,” said one customer, quoted in the Catholic daily La Croix. “If everyone has agreed to work, why can’t you open the store?”
Stores in Germany—which has the strongest economy in Europe—are closed on Sunday, with even fewer exceptions than in France. “The Sunday day of rest enjoys consensus in Germany among unions, employees, consumers, and business owners,” Werner Zettelmeier, the research director of Paris’s Center for Information and Research on Contemporary Germany, wrote in yesterday’s La Croix. “Any politician who proposed opening stores on Sunday would risk his or her career.”
While there are clear economic advantages to staying open on Sunday, each society has a legitimate choice to make between money and leisure, the French economists Patrick Artus, Pierre Cahuc, and André Zylberberg argue in the most extensive French study of the Sunday-work issue. Their hundred-and-thirty-eight-page report, “Temps de Travail, Revenu et Emploi” (Work Time, Revenue, and Employment), published in 2007, offers a sweeping historical and cross-cultural examination.
“The well-being of each of us is not independent of what others do,” Artus, Cahuc, and Zylberberg wrote. “The value of our free time depends on the possibility of spending it with one’s family and friends and the ability to share that time with others.” In other words, the value of almost no one working on Sunday is that it forces families—or friends—to do things together.
This isn’t as trivial as it may seem, on first glance; social scientists are increasingly finding links between family time and well-being. A number of studies in the U.S. show that children who have dinner regularly with their families do better in school and are less likely to get into trouble. Families that rarely eat together see higher average rates of obesity, drinking, and drug use among teenagers, and more teen pregnancy. The entrenchment of 24/7 capitalism in the U.S.—which has forced many parents to work late hours, or hold down multiple jobs—has gone hand in hand with various negative social trends: rising divorce rates, child obesity, drug use, teen pregnancy.
Still, the French showdown may be a sign that the French system is in serious need of revision. “The French labor system is based on the flawed assumption that if everyone worked fewer hours, there would be more jobs to go around,” Zylberberg, an economist at the University of Paris I, told me. “It’s based on the idea that the job market is a zero-sum game in which the more one person works, the less is left for others. That’s simply wrong.” In 2000, France passed a law instituting a thirty-five-hour work week; since then, the number of hours has indeed gone down—but unemployment has gone up. Furthermore, Zylberberg said, his research shows that “in countries where businesses were free to stay open on Sundays or evenings, the retail sectors grew by three to ten per cent, which is not negligible.”
South Korea Enforcing a National Sunday Law
Costco Should Honor Sunday Closing Rule
The Korean Times
Seoul City officials raided three Costco stores in Seoul that opened their doors again Sunday despite the city’s ordinance to have large discount stores close on the second and fourth Sunday of every month. They uncovered 14 violations and slapped a temporary suspension on the sale of livestock products at two of the three outlets for violating meat preservation regulations.
Seoul City also imposed a fine of $60 million against the American retail giant for violating the Sunday closing rule. The raids are seen as retaliatory measures against the retailer’s failure to follow the Sundayclosing rule. It defies our understanding that Costco, which operates eight stores in Korea, continues to violate the law while doing business here.
Seoul City imposed the Sunday closing rule on discount chains in April under the Distribution Industry Development Act that took effect in January.
Seoul City, for its part, deserves blame for resorting to outdated revengeful clampdowns to bring a foreign retailer into submission. It’s like a tax agency conducting an audit to retaliate against a company that doesn’t comply with its instruction.
What’s clear is that Costco should recall the old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’’ It’s time for the retail giant to step back and try to observe local regulations.
Pope Promotes Sunday as the Day of Rest
Pope Says Family Values are Key to Escaping Modern Ills
June 3, 2012
The pope said traditional family values and Sunday rest were key to escaping the ills of modern society and reached out to divorced people at a mass to close the World Meeting of Families in Milan.
Welcomed by a million flag-waving pilgrims gathered at Bresso airport, Pope Benedict XVI looked tired but cheerful as he drove through the crowds in his pope-mobile Sunday, stopping several times to wave to children and kiss babies.
"Dear families, despite the relentless rhythms of the modern world, do not lose a sense of the Lord's day," the pope said, describing the tradition of Sunday rest as "an oasis in which to pause... and celebrate the family." He lamented the modern-day "utilitarian concept of work, production and the market," which "brings in its wake ferocious competition, strong inequalities, degradation of the environment, the race for consumer goods, family tensions."
Particularly in a period of economic crisis and social unease, families should celebrate Sunday as "the day of man and his values: conviviality, friendship, solidarity, culture, closeness to nature, play, sport," he said.
New Sunday Shopping Rules Make No Sense
Winnipeg Sun [Canada]
May 23, 2012
By Tom Brodbeck
Is there any point at all to having Sunday shopping laws given the long list of exemptions for retailers and the new guarantees for workers that they’re not required to work on Sundays?
I mean really, at some point government has to give its head a shake with this restricted shopping business on Sundays. The government proposed its new Sunday shopping bill Wednesday that will allow retailers to open at 9 am instead of the current noon-to-6 pm
It’s designed to give shoppers greater flexibility on weekends and allow businesses to better serve their customers. But it’s also supposed to “protect the rights of families” who deserve Sundays off to be with their kids and loved ones.
Which is really a crock. Because the law has always allowed retail employees to refuse work on Sundays. And the new bill clarifies that even further with new consequences under the Employment Standards Code.
So the question now becomes, if employees don’t have to work Sundays, why have any restrictions on Sunday shopping at all? It really makes no sense.
Seems to me the entire argument for having Sunday shopping restrictions has now fallen apart. Besides, there are so many exemptions in the act that make the hourly restrictions a bit of a joke anyway.
For example, a grocery store can’t open outside of the prescribed Sunday hours, but a large pharmacy chain — which sells all kinds of groceryproducts — can. A smaller store of any kind with six or seven employees cannot open outside of the legislated hours. But a retailer selling the same products with four workers or less can.
You can sell fresh fruit and vegetables, garden equipment, flower beds and plants any time you want on a Sunday even if you’re a bigbox store. But you can’t sell a light bulb or a sheet of plywood at that same big-box store outside of the restricted hours.
So are the rights of employees at the big-box store selling plywood are more important than the rights of those selling tomato plants when it comes to family time on Sundays? It’s ridiculous, actually. Instead of expanding Sunday shopping laws further, why not just get rid of the restrictions altogether. Would it really matter if a store wanted to open at 8 a.m. on a Sunday instead of 9 a.m.? If a store wants to stay open until 9 p.m. on a Sunday, is it really any of the government’s business?
And since employees don’t have to work on Sundays anyway, why does it matter? The next logical step would be to eliminate Sunday shopping restrictions completely so those who want to work or shop on Sundays can. The state has no business telling workers they can’t make a living by working a retail job on a Sunday evening.
At the very least — and here’s my compromise — it should be left up to individual municipalities to decide whether they want Sunday shopping restrictions or not. Unfortunately, the bill won’t even allow that. Manitoba’s Sunday shopping laws — the existing one and the proposed one proposed this week — don’t allow retail businesses to open on Sundays period, unless their municipality passes a bylaw allowing them to access the province’s restricted hours.
Why not have a provision in the act that allows municipalities to be exempt entirely from the Retail Business Holiday Closing Act? That way they could either have no Sunday shopping at all, they could implement the province’s restricted hour scheme, or they could have no restrictions whatsoever.
Editor’s Note: This article published in the Winnipeg Sun shows the inconsistencies, contradictions, and confusion that accompany Sunday Laws. More so is the danger that Sunday Laws pose to religious liberty.
“There are many, even of those engaged in this movement for Sunday enforcement, who are blinded to the results which will follow this action. They do not see that they are striking directly against religious liberty.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 711.
Freedom of religion has been one of America’s most cherished liberties, and one of the reasons why America became great. Notice what one of the Founding Fathers said about this: "No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779).
Yet today, times have changed. Religious liberty is becoming a thing of the past. Great horrors await this nation if this trend continues: “They are working in blindness. They do not see that if a Protestant government sacrifices the principles that have made them a free, independent nation, and through legislation brings into the Constitution, principles that will propagate papal falsehoods and papal delusions, they are plunging into the Roman horrors of the Dark Ages.” Review and Herald, December 11, 1888.
Major English Paper Defends Sunday Closing
Do we really need more Sunday shopping hours?
Express & Starr [England]
Thursday 29th March 2012
By Lou’s Women
Just how much shopping do we all want to do, especially as many of us are having to tighten our belts? Restrictions on Sunday trading have eased greatly in recent years – and now the Government plans to completely suspend the rules to allow shops in England and Wales to open for more than six hours to take advantage of tourist trade during the London Olympics.
No doubt if it is a success there will be pressure from the big retailers to make it permanent. It’s amazing to think that, with stores now opening every day of the week and many trading well into the night as well, people still want more hours to go shopping.
And pity the poor shop workers who have no choice in the matter. It seems there is no single day of the week that is sacred, when they are not at the beck and call of their employers. A friend working at a department store in Dudley once told me how, despite having been open until really late every day in the run-up to Christmas, a man came to the till five minutes before closing at 10pm and demanded to have all the presents he had just chosen gift-wrapped, a service the store had advertised.
Staff scurried round, stayed late and met his demand. But it just goes to show that, no matter how long a shop is open, someone will want to push it just that bit further. And should we be pandering to people who can’t be bothered to plan their lives well enough to make sure they do their shopping in a timely fashion. Surely we only have just so much in our pockets to spend anyway so is it really worth the disruption to the lives of shop staff, their families and our traditional day of rest to open even longer?
Labor Unions Push for Sunday
Trade Unionists Campaign Against Sunday Trading
March 5, 2012
Solidarity trade union activists protested in front of shopping malls and supermarkets yesterday as part of a campaign to give shop workers a day off on Sundays. The trade unionists distributed leaflets asking customers to support the demand. Alfred Bujara, a spokesman for the Solidarity trade union argues that banning Sunday trading would not necessarily lead to a loss of trade, as customers would still buy the same amount of goods six days a week instead of seven.
He said that trade unionists in Austria and France were also calling for a ban on Sunday trading. “I think that, as in Western Europe, we can demand to keep Sunday as a day of rest,” he said. Around 250,000 shop assistants, mostly women, work on Sunday in Poland.
A previous, conservative Law and Justice (PiS) led government (2005– 2007) introduced a law banning large retail units opening on national holidays. Only local shops are lalowed to be open on those days provided it is the owner who is working. The Polish labor code allows for a fine of 30,000 zloty (7,600 euro) if the regulation is broken.
Editor’s Note: Slowly but surely, the dangers of Sunday laws are threatening our civil and religious freedom on every hand. Solidarity Trade Union in Poland has the full support of the Catholic Church. Leach Walesa, a Roman Catholic, was one of the founders of this union. With the aid of Pope John Paul II he was able to coordinate
a series of boycotts against the Polish communist government that eventually led to its demise. As a result of his work with the union, he eventually became president of Poland from 1991-1995.
Today these unions have joined with the Roman Catholic Church to promote Sunday laws. Within the past few days members of the Solidarity Trade Union in Poland were picketing stores and shops across Poland demanding that owners and even customers respect Sunday as the Lord’s day and to keep it holy by shutting down on Sundays.
The flames of liberty that has burned so brightly after the fall of communism is beginning to flicker and grow dim. If Poland fails in her responsibility to hold the banner of liberty and freedom, the cause of freedom will be lost. Let us not forget that trade unions can be used either for good or for evil. Fidel Castro used the trade unions to begin a series of labor boycotts which was the launching of a general popular insurrection during the Cuban Revolution. We have been warned that one day that labor unions throughout the world will go too far in their efforts.
“The trade unions will be one of the agencies that will bring upon this earth a time of trouble such as has not been since the world began.” Last Day Events, p.116.
At some point these labor unions with try to coerce, destabilize, or sabotage the economy in order to force the government to fulfill its demands. Labor unions will no doubt be the agency by which the “buying and selling” provision of the mark of the beast will be enforced [Rev. 13:11, 16, 17].
However, we must never forget the fact that religion will be the underlying factor in the campaign for Sunday laws. Political as well as religious issues with regards to Sunday laws are being agitated daily throughout the world. We have tried to document this over the years through The Eternal Gospel Herald. The matter of Sunday laws have become prominent in recent years; and the opponents of religious freedom have come out strongly in favor of making Sunday a day of worship and rest.
It is in the light of these momentous events that the Eternal Gospel Ministry is committed to continue to raise up a voice against the threat of freedom posed by the monopolies of labor and business and religious institutions. We will continue to publish, preach, and educate the public with the messages of Daniel and Revelation in the daily newspaper, on radio, through billboards, and missionary publications. What can be done in these momentous times to enlighten the public regarding the principles of God’s truth and of the final events—must be done now. If we don’t do it, who will? Unfortunately, not many are willing to do it. However, we are inviting each of you to help us give the last message of mercy a much wider circulation than ever before. Your prayers and support are much needed in such a time as this. God bless you.
Some Seeing Red over Connecticut’s Blue Laws
By Sabadino Parker
April 10, 2011
When most people come to Connecticut for the first time, they often express befuddlement at what we have taken as a matter of course: the state’s “Blue Laws”—particularly the one prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays. Caitlin Horan, who recently relocated to Connecticut from Florida, said, “It makes no sense. What’s the big deal about selling alcohol on Sundays?”
Many people in Connecticut feel the same way: “I’ve never understood it,” said Sheila Roberts, a lifelong Connecticut resident. “It seems like a throwback to the Puritan era.” And, indeed, the prohibition of alcohol sales on Sundays is a restriction dating back hundreds of years. In fact, Connecticut has the honor of being the first state in the nation to establish Blue Laws in relation to the sale of alcohol on Sundays. Currently Connecticut is one of only three states prohibiting alcohol sales on Sundays, the other two being Indiana and Georgia.
“Blue laws” refers to any laws regulating activities on Sundays, not just alcohol (for example, it is illegal to purchase cars on Sunday in Illinois). In Connecticut, Blue Laws were part of the initial statutes established by Governor Theophilus Eaton, with the help of the infamous Rev. John Cotton, in 1655, although the state’s official ban went into effect in 1933, the year national prohibition was repealed and left to the states. It goes without saying, such laws were the result of the Christian reverence for Sunday as the Holy Sabbath, which, to many, flies in the face of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes a separation between church and state.
Many state residents who wish to purchase alcohol on Sundays tend to travel to Massachusetts, and many lawmakers wish to keep that revenue within Connecticut borders. Liquor and beer companies and lobbyist are also pushing for a lift on the ban, claiming it would increase their profits.
Even with the lift of Connecticut’s Blue Laws, even the most optimistic figures regarding increased tax revenue barely put a dent in the state’s deficit. Still Governor Daniel Malloy has promised to sign the bill into law should its passage in the legislature reach his desk.
As an interesting side note, other Blue Laws that had at one time existed in the state (and have since been repealed) include the stipulations that “No one shall run on the Sabbath day, or walk in his garden or elsewhere, except reverently to and from meeting,” “no one shall travel, cook victuals, make beds, sweep house, cut hair, or shave, on the Sabbath day,” and “no woman shall kiss her child on the Sabbath or fasting day,” among others.
Officials Debate Blue Laws and Sunday Hunting
By Philip Petrunak
Daily American [Somerset, Pennsylvania]
June 11, 2011
The issue of Sunday hunting rekindles the age-old debate regarding Pennsylvania’s blue laws. The House Games and Fisheries Committee are considering a change that would allow Pennsylvania’s whitetail deer to be hunted on Sundays.
One of the bill’s largest opponents, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, testified before the House committee Thursday that farmers and private landowners control approximately 80 percent of the state’s huntable land, according to a 2005 survey.
Farm Bureau member Nila Cogan opposes the expansion of Sunday hunting for several reasons, including the preservation of a day of peace and relaxation on her farm, the private use of her own land for recreational purposes and religious beliefs. Those religious beliefs have once again sparked the debate over blue laws. Blue laws are designed to enforce religious standards, such as the observance of Sunday as a day of worship and rest.
“I doubt it’s a surprise to you that the church community is very opposed to the expansion of Sunday hunting,” Cogan said before the committee. “In a day and age where Sundays have become just another day of the week, we (Christians) feel like we are losing the battle. The question of Sunday hunting is about more than changing the commonwealth, it’s about changing our way of life.”
John Hohenwarter, the National Rifle Association’s Pennsylvania state liaison, said the religious views of some, even many, should not dictate the laws of everyone.
“It’s personal choice whether you go to church on Sunday,” he said before the committee. “I think you need to keep in mind that there are other religions (besides Christianity) in this state. It’s been determined that Sunday is the day of rest, but that’s not the case for everyone.” Pennsylvania’s blue laws have played a role in preventing Sunday liquor and car sales.
Joel Rotz, state governmental relations director for the Farm Bureau, said Sunday hunting is different from other forms of blue laws. “Private landowners are not going to benefit from this change, and they don’t want it,” he said.
Those in favor of Sunday hunting point out double standards involved with blue laws. Coyote, fox and crow hunting is legal, for example, while hunting for deer and turkey is not. Fishing on Sundays is also legal.
State Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong/Indiana, said he has not yet decided whether he will vote in favor of the expansion of Sunday hunting. “I agree that Sunday is a day of rest,” he said. “But why is hiking, biking, or riding quads and motorcycles acceptable on Sundays, but hunting is not?”
Editor’s Note: We should be doing much more to voice the warnings of the third angel’s message. We must warn the world against the formation of the image of the beast, warn against the union of church and state, warn against the notorious Sunday laws, and the union of churches towards Rome through radio, publications, newspapers, billboards, or by any means of communicating the truth for such a time as this. Notice what is about to break upon the world in an overwhelming surprise: “It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday-sabbath, that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced, and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity.” The Great Controversy, p. 590.
“If the people can be led to favor a Sunday law, then the clergy intend to exert their united influence to obtain a religious amendment to the Constitution, and compel the nation to keep Sunday.” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, December 24, 1889.
We can see from these statements that for the final conflict to come, a religious awakening regarding the Sunday question in public life must be created. All these articles from different newspapers discussing the Sunday law question can only lead up to one thing—a Universal Sunday observance in which Satan will persuade men that this is what is desperately needed to save the world.
Let us move forward while we still can and take the third angel to the world. The time is now! The signs of the times all reveal how near we are to Christ’s return.
“If every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind. While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us.” Testimonies for the Church , Vol. 9, p. 29.
Are Tennessee Lawmakers Preparing for Sunday Laws?
By the Editors of the Eternal Gospel Herald
The Tennessee State House of Representatives may just very well be preparing to set up a new precedent for future Sunday laws. They have just passed overwhelmingly, in a 98-0 vote, a resolution to allow its courthouses the right to display the Ten Commandments. The resolution, H.R. 107, was authored by Rep. Todd Watson.
What does this have to do with Sunday laws? Well, the text of the resolution gives eleven reasons why the Tennessee Legislature felt fully authorized and justified to pass this measure. Reason number seven is something that should cause us all great concern. It says:
“WHEREAS, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the historical importance of these sacred texts [10 Commandments] and even upheld Sunday closing laws, which originated in the Fourth Commandment’s exhortation to remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.”
The justification for placing the Ten Commandments and for passing H.R. 107 was that since the U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld Sunday laws which come from the Fourth Commandment, then we can pass a law to at least display them.
Unbelievable! A precedent has just been set and nobody is opposing this. The Tennessee Legislature is referring to the rulings of two separate cases in which the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that Sunday closing laws are not “religious” laws that violate the First Amendment—which separates church from state; but rather that Sunday closing laws
are “secular” laws that are meant to improve the “health, safety, recreation, and general well-being” of citizens [See: McGowan v. Maryland (1961) and Braunfeld v. Brown (1961)].
And now the Tennessee House of Representatives is saying, “Yes, Sunday laws come from the Fourth Commandment and because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Sunday laws are legal in this country we want legislation to be able to display the Ten Commandments in our courthouses.”
By their reasoning they can just as easily pass Sunday laws. When will the state of Tennessee start passing laws like, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Notice what inspiration says:
“Church and state are now making preparations for the future conflict. Protestants are working in disguise to bring Sunday to the front, as did the Romanists.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 449.
The following statement describes our duty to warn against these notorious Sunday laws and to proclaim boldly the true Seventh-day Sabbath: “Sunday observance shall be enforced by law...And it is not until the issue is thus plainly set before the people, and they are brought to choose between the commandments of God and the commandments of men, that those who continue in transgression will receive the mark of the beast.” Great Controversy, p. 449.
Parade Magazine Highlights Sunday Laws
By the Editors of the Eternal Gospel Herald
Parade is a nationwide Sunday newspaper magazine distributed in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and has readership of nearly 70 million people. This is America’s most widely read newspaper.
The Sunday, August 28, 2011 edition reminded its readers of a time when Sunday closing laws in America helped to keep our weekends from becoming hectic. Parade is just another example in a long list of newspapers that are directly and indirectly preparing the minds of people to keep Sunday. We have included a sample from the paper:
“Say Goodbye to Chaos and Chill for a Change—Listening to Tara and Mark Mincer of Charlottesville, Va., rattle off the items on their weekend schedule is enough to make you want to curl up and take a nap. Consider a recent todo list: one school talent show, one soccer game, two lacrosse games (Mark’s a coach), a sleepover birthday party, a school fund-raiser, and church. And let’s not forget the chores: the groceries that need buying, the basement that needs cleaning, the laundry that needs folding, the homework (they have four kids) that needs doing.
Sound familiar? It should. These days, managing your weekend is like running a marathon at a sprinter’s pace—with a stagger across the finish line on Sunday night. “Most people I work with aren’t enjoying themselves on the weekends,” says psychologist Amy Wood, author of Life Your Way. “They’re drained by Monday morning.”
It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when those two days were truly a collective respite. We mowed our lawns on Saturday, taking a break to cheer at our kids’ soccer game, which was across town—not across state lines. Sunday mornings, we dressed up for church, after which we bypassed the mall and went home, thanks to blue laws, stores were closed. On Sunday evenings, we relaxed in front of the TV—and our coworkers did the same, no panicky 7 p.m. texts about Monday’s meeting.
“Weekends used to provide a safety valve against stress,” says John de Graaf of the nonprofit Take Back Your Time. As they say, those were the days. We can’t turn back the clock on modern technology and convenience. But we can take steps toward managing the load better—and putting a bit more fun back into our free time.
Vatican Official Exhorts Catholics to Set Aside Sundays For God and Rest
ROME, ITALY, July 19, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Sunday should be a day for worship, rest and time with family and friends, said Monsignor Miquel Delgado Galindo, under secretary for the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
“The Church teaches us to set aside this day, the first day of the week on which we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for divine worship and for human rest,” the monsignor recently told CNA.
“On Sundays Catholics should participate in the Holy Mass, the renewal of Christ's sacrifice on the cross” and “the greatest expression of worship and adoration that man can offer to the Lord our God,” he said. Sundays should also be a day “devoted to rest with family and friends,” he added. Msgr. Galindo underscored the importance of Blessed John Paul II's 1998 Apostolic Letter, "Dies Domini," which exhorts the bishops, the clergy and the lay faithful to keep Sunday holy and to treat it as the Lord's day.
“We need to realize that we need more time with family and friends. It is hard to give them time during the week because of our professional and social commitments,” he noted. Sunday rest is “a human necessity,” he continued. “Man cannot always be working, just as a bow cannot be constantly pulled back, because at some point it will break.”
Catholics should not see rest as “doing nothing,” but rather as time in which they devote themselves to activities that require less physical or intellectual effort such as going on a family outing, reading a good book, playing sports or watching a worthwhile film.
“This makes it possible to return to our routine work with renewed energy. We need Sundays from a religious and a human point of view,” Msgr. Galindo said.
The letter “Dies Domini” explains that the Lord’s Day, the term used to refer to Sundays since apostolic times, has always had a privileged place in the history of the Church because of its close relationship to the very nucleus of the Christian mystery.
Sundays remind us, in the weekly succession of time, of the day of Christ's resurrection. Therefore, it is the Easter of each week, when we celebrate the victory of Christ over sin and death, the fulfillment of the first creation in him.
Editor’s Note: Notice how the Sunday movement will be mingled with temperance [rest] “Here the temperance work, one of the most prominent and important of moral reforms, is often combined with the Sunday movement, and the advocates of the latter represent themselves as laboring to promote the highest interest of society; and those who refuse to unite with them are denounced as the enemies of temperance and reform. But the fact that a movement to establish error is connected with a work which is in itself good, is not an argument in favor of the error. We may disguise poison by mingling it with wholesome food, but we do not change its nature. On the contrary, it is rendered more dangerous, as it is more likely to be taken unawares.” GC 587.
North Dakota Catholic Conference Says Sunday Law Benefits All People
July 15, 2011
The North Dakota Catholic Conference has responded to criticism of a law restricting Sunday hours for businesses, saying the regulation benefits the whole of society.
“The purpose of North Dakota’s Sunday closing law is not to impose times of worship. Nor is it to demand adherence to religious doctrine. The purpose of the law is to preserve the common good by ensuring that society is not overtaken by work and profit,” wrote Christopher Dodson, executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, in a July 12 article.
A July 5 editorial in the Fargo-Moorhead Forum criticized “all those North Dakotans who cling to the myth that partial Sunday opening somehow honors a Sabbath day.”
“Let’s get honest: Merchants should be able to open their doors whenever they choose. North Dakotans who don’t want to shop on Sunday – morning or any other time on that day – can stay home or in church,” the editorial said. “Others will want to shop. It should be their choice, not the state’s.”
In his response, Dodson said that the newspaper’s argument showed a “misunderstanding of the law’s purpose,” and of the relationship between government, business, and local community.
“Courts upholding Sunday closing laws have recognized what the Forum does not,” Dodson explained, noting that the laws “serve a secular, not religious purpose.” He said that all people need periods of rest and free time for the sake of their families, social lives and religious activities. “Only when communities set aside time devoted to these functions can human persons prosper and develop,” he observed.
Economic forces, Dodson noted, can become enslaving for society in the absence of any regulation. He pointed out that individuals, families and communities can experience negative consequences if they do not have common periods of rest.
“Rather than restricting individual freedom,” the conference director said, “closing laws liberate and free people from the antisocial degeneration of human work.” He noted that economic freedom can only grow in healthy societies, not those which put profits above the values of family and community.
Dodson quoted the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which describes public authorities' duty “to ensure that, for reasons of economic productivity, citizens are not denied time for rest and divine worship. Sunday closing laws are not about honoring the Sabbath day, they are about honoring people and families.”
A Call to America to Keep Sunday
National ‘Back To Church Sunday’ Set September 18
May 19, 2011
National Back To Church Sunday, a cross-denominational movement to reverse declining church attendance and encourage everyone to revisit congregational life, will be celebrated Sept. 18 across the country. Lending his voice to this year's event is Texas Rangers all-star Josh Hamilton, the 2010 American League Championship Series MVP who credits his comeback from drug addiction and suspension from the game to his faith and church.
"God's word tells us to spur one another on toward love and good deeds, and not give up meeting together," Hamilton said. "We are to walk through life with other believers. My family and I have found that church is a wonderful way to do this, so I encourage you to join thousands of Americans as they go back to church on National Back To Church Sunday."
National Back To Church Sunday has become the single largest community outreach in the nation, with 10,000 churches expected to participate in 2011. This event reignites the power of personal invitation to empower church members to bring the community back to church. This year's event will be held the second Sunday after Labor Day to accommodate more churches.
Since the initiative began in 2009, National Back To Church Sunday has seen increased success with church members inviting more than 1.4 million family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers to special services last year. Some 3,800 churches participated in 2010, reporting an average 26 percent increase in weekly attendance.
Outreach Inc. has partnered with Back to Church Sunday and is offering valuable tools in a 2011 church kit including: an updated campaign planning guide, new suggested sermons, new promotional video, new graphics and widgets for church websites or social media, invitations and posters, a preparedness assessment, and suggested follow-up sermons and small group materials. These and other special promotional materials, including church postcards, banners, bulletin shells and personal invitations, are available at www.backtochurch.com/store.
National Back To Church Sunday was launched in response to a 2008 study by LifeWay Research and the North American Mission Board of 15,000 adults that found that 67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be effective in getting them to visit a church. Sixty-three percent say an invitation from a friend or
neighbor would likely get them to respond.
"We found that the effectiveness of the invitation was often tied to its form: the more personal, the more effective," said Philip Nation, ministry development director of LifeWay Research and National Back to Church Sunday spokesperson.
"We were encouraged by the response and feedback from churches that participated in National Back to Church Sunday last year," said Eric Abel, vice president of marketing for Outreach, Inc. "Creating ways to empower church members to reach out to their friends and neighbors is exciting. And we are looking forward to this event continuing to gain momentum."
An interactive Facebook page is available at www.facebook.com/backtochurch, and a list of participating churches is available at www.backtochurch.com/roster. When churches register their participation, their names and locations are added to the roster, allowing unchurched people to easily find a church to attend on that special Sunday.
Editor’s Note: “It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.” Psalms 119:126.
“Let not the commandment-keeping people of God be silent at this time, as though we gracefully accepted the situation. There is the prospect before us of waging a continuous war, at the risk of imprisonment, of losing property and even life itself, to defend the law of God, which is being made void by the laws of men.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7 p. 975.
“I do hope that the trumpet will give a certain sound in regard to this Sunday-law movement. I think that it would be best if in our papers the subject of the perpetuity of the law of God were made a specialty...The truth should be presented in short articles, in clear, distinct lines, giving special points in regard to the Lord's Sabbath, and showing that those who frame laws to compel the observance of the first day of the week, are disloyal to the Lord of heaven, who placed His sanctity upon the seventh day. Are we doing all we can to exalt the law of Jehovah? Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 97, 98.
Sunday Debate Heats Up in Minnesota
Lawmaker Wants to End Ban on Sunday Alcohol Sales
By John Croman
February 3, 2011
NBC News Channel 11
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota's longtime ban on Sunday liquor sales will become a thing of the past, if one state lawmaker's proposal gains any traction. State Senator Roger Reinert, D-Duluth, threw a bill into the hopper Wednesday that would repeal Minnesota's 1933 law barring liquor sales on Sunday.
"I think in the 21st century the blue laws are fairly outdated," Sen. Reinert told News Channel 11. "It's basically a free market issue. We ought to have the permissive language that allows store owners to be open on Sundays if they want to, and allows a consumer to buy it on Sundays if they make that choice."
Sen. Reinert introduced similar legislation in the House in 2010, but feels more confident this time around because he holds a seat in the Senate Commerce Committee. Reinert says consumer choice is a more significant factor, as far as he's concerned, than recapturing the estimated $10 million in liquor tax revenue Wisconsin earns from Minnesotans crossing the border on Sundays.
Opposition to the idea is coming from the retail liquor industry itself. Frank Ball, the executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, told News Channel 11 he intends to lobby against the bill at the State Capitol. "Quite frankly our people oppose that because we don't want to work on Sundays," Ball remarked, "We work very hard for six days a week. Why would we want to work on Sundays?"
Ball, a former Crow Wing County Sheriff who served as director of Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement division during the Ventura Administration, said Minnesota's system has served the state well. Ball said border town liquor stores stand to pick up some sales if the ban is lifted, but for most areas of the state it wouldn't be a money maker. He predicted that six days worth of of liquor sales would be spread over seven days, and in many cases the Sunday business wouldn't justify the overhead costs. Minnesota is one of 14 states that don't allow packaged liquor sales in stores on Sundays.
Ireland Battles Over Sunday
Battle looms in Outer Hebrides over Sabbath
By James Cook
March 29, 2011
On a Sunday, John Calvin casts a long shadow over these islands.The austere influence of the 16th Century Protestant reformer is keenly felt on Lewis, Harris and North Uist, where the Presbyterian tradition runs deep.
True, the swings in the playgrounds are no longer chained up on the Sabbath but there are plenty of islanders who will not hang out their washing or play a round of golf, let alone go to work. Now though, a new generation is fighting for change.
Their battlegrounds are civilized places: running tracks, golf courses and sports centers, such as the council-run Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais in Stornoway. Mrs MacLeod says the council policy has a big impact on her family's leisure opportunities. On a Saturday its swimming pool is packed, open until 10pm. But come the Sabbath, the showers are off and the doors are locked. This infuriates mother-of-three Elma MacLeod, a keen swimmer. "It has quite a big effect on us," she tells me at the poolside one weekday evening. "My children are in school five days a week. They have two days off, which is their own free time for their leisure and pleasure. "But 50% of that time this pool is closed. I understand that there are those who do not want to use the facility on a Sunday," she says "but I don't understand why the local council have imposed that on everybody in the community."
The answer, says Angus Campbell, leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), is work. "You can take exercise in many ways on a Sunday," he says. "We would encourage people to do that. But we do not want to ask our people to work on a Sunday."
Mr Galloway is club secretary but even he cannot enjoy a round on a Sunday because the course landlord refuses to allow club members permission to play. "The seven-day golf battle has gone on for more than two decades," he says, "but momentum has increased over the last few years mainly as a result of a variety of changing attitudes on the islands."
"We are now able to fly in and out of the island on a Sunday. We are now able to sail in and out of the island on a Sunday." And there is, he says, an economic case for Sunday golf, as it would make the courses of the Western Isles attractive to tourists seven days a week. And anyway, he insists, "there is nothing wrong with exercising your body in a recreational sport on a Sunday". Not everyone agrees. Ian MacRae is not a stereotypical member of the Lord's Day Observance Society. He does not bellow fire and brimstone. He is young and softly spoken. Mr MacRae is impeccably polite but he is also firm in his insistence that Sunday is a day to honour God.
And Mr MacRae insists that renouncing Biblical teaching about the day of rest is to set off down a slippery slope. But he concedes that change might be coming. If that happens, the Lord's Day Observance Society warns darkly, there will be consequences.
Editor's Note: The Sunday question is gradually being advanced throughout the world. All of the arguments in favor of Sunday legislation sound good on the surface—recreation, rest, family time, time away from business, etc. Yet we have been given a special duty to do at the very time when Sunday laws are being promoted: “The Christian world is honoring a false sabbath, and we are to show them its true character and foundation. We must make it plain to them that they are honoring a manmade institution in place of that which God himself has sanctified.” — Review and Herald, January 31, 1893.
Fear of Church-driven Backlash Behind Sunday Sale Delay
Georgia Senate May Block Sunday Alcohol Bill Again
By James Salzer
Legislation letting communities vote whether to allow Sunday beer, wine and liquor sales at stores may be in trouble yet again in the Senate, thanks in part to lobbying by Christian conservatives. Only a few weeks after giving it a strong chance of passing, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers said Monday that he's not sure the Senate will even vote on the bill this year.
Rogers, R-Woodstock, is a co-sponsor of the measure, which has already passed Senate and House committees. Another cosponsor is Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, chairman of the committee that decides which bills make it to the Senate floor for a vote.
Such powerful backing typically gives bills a pretty good chance of passing the Senate.
But GOP leaders in the Senate have long been skittish about Sunday sales, stalling similar bills every year since 2007. And religious conservatives are increasing pressure on Senate Republicans to kill the legislation again.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this article we can see how the churches are putting pressure on elected officials to vote for Sunday closing laws. It is interesting how the Christian Coalition stated that “Sunday sales will be an election-year issue.” Soon Sunday sales will become a nation issue when these same churches unite at the national level and demand a National Sunday Law. We have been told that “legislators will yield to the demand for a Sunday law.” (5T 450). Can we not see from this article that prophecy is being fulfilled on a smaller scale? Soon these arguments will become national. We must sow the seeds of the Seventh-day Sabbath truth before the crisis begins. It will be during that crisis that all the seeds of truth sown shall bear their fruit.
French Shops are Defying Sunday Closing Laws
Food Shops Ignore
Sunday Trade Law
Editor’s Note: Praise the Lord that somebody is resisting these Sunday laws. Where are God’s modern-day Elijah messengers that should be sounding the alarm against Sunday legislation? We need to be at the front of the battle against the Sunday movement and not at the tail. “I do hope that the trumpet will give a certain sound in regard to this Sunday law movement...The truth should be presented in short articles, in clear, distinct lines, giving special points in regard to the Lord's Sabbath.” Councils to Writers and Editors, p. 97.
The New York Times Supports Sunday Rest
Shopping Linked With Less Happiness
By Tara Parker-Pope
How do you spend your Sunday? For many, this traditional day of rest and churchgoing has become a day to shop, but it may be taking a toll on happiness.
Editor’s Note: “Yet this very class put forth the claim that the fast spreading corruption is largely attributable to the desecration of the so-called “Christian sabbath,” and that the enforcement of Sunday observance would greatly improve the morals of society. Here the temperance work, one of the most prominent and important of moral reforms, is often combined with the Sunday movement, and the advocates of the latter represent themselves as laboring to promote the highest interest of society.” Great Controversy, p. 587.
Pope Says Sunday is the Day of the Lord, of Man, of the Family, and Community
Pope's Letter on 7th World Family Meeting
In our days, unfortunately, the organization of labor, conceived and realized in function of market competition and maximizing profit, and the concept of feast as an occasion for escape and consumption, contribute to the break-up of the family and the community and to the spreading of an individualistic lifestyle. Thus, it is necessary to promote reflection and efforts at reconciling the demands and the periods of work with those of the family and to recover the true meaning of the feast, especially on Sunday, the weekly Easter, the day of the Lord and the day of man, the day of the family, of the community and of solidarity.
The next World
Meeting of Families constitutes a privileged occasion to rethink work and
celebration (Sunday) in the perspective of a united family open to life, well
integrated into society and the Church, attentive
Times Promotes Sunday-Keeping
Remembering the Sabbath Can Refresh the Soul
By Judith Shulevitz
Only during the past half a century
did Americans become free to disregard the ancient commandment not to
Consider the experiences that
Americans had a century ago when Sunday rolled around. As one psychologist
Many religious professionals have
preached this message from the pulpit, but the Sabbath has had its nonreligious
advocates too. The most eloquent among them was Supreme Court Justice Felix
Defending the midcentury American Sunday against those who felt oppressed by it, he said that a commonly kept day of rest promoted the orderliness of a society and the health of its people by providing “a release from the daily grind, a preserve of mental peace ... a time during which the mind and body are released from the demands and distractions of an increasingly mechanized and competition-driven society.”
Editor’s Note: What the LA Times is saying in this article on Sunday laws is this:
1. This is an “American Sabbath” part
of the American culture and heritage—not the “Biblical” Sabbath.
Cook Island Christians Prayfor Sunday Flights Reprieve
About 1,300 people have petitioned against flightson Sundays.
After the introduction offlights on Sundays to theCook island of Aitutaki,John Pickford examines how the predominantly Christianisland is reacting to its Sabbath being disrupted. "The sanctityof the Sabbath is of a higher value than the dollar," declaredthe protesters' banner.It was a wet Sunday in Aitutaki and I was looking at a bedraggledband of demonstrators outside the tiny airport.
When the local airline decided to add a Sunday service to its normalschedule it may have anticipated some hostility.Most Polynesians have been devout Christians since the arrival of missionariesin the early 19th Century, and on many islands Sunday is a specialday.
But on Aitutaki, as well as the airport protests, 1,300 people signed a petition against the flight. "That's most of the adult population," declared one campaigner jubilantly.
Aitutaki's famously beautiful lagoon had a mournful look but you cannot fail to be elated on a Sunday morning by the sight of a Polynesian congregation in its "Sunday best".
Matriarchs are in hats, girls in starched white frocks, the men mostly in black. There is deep, soulful singing, a woman feeding her baby and a sermon. Tunui Mati, a silver-haired man in late middle-age, says his leadership of the protests cost him his job at the airport. So what should an Aitutaki Sunday be like?
Guarantee that Sundays will be Work-free, EU Leaders Urged
By Clive Leviev-Sawyer
Church and State Unite to Enforce Sunday Law
Germany's highest court passing its decision that all shops must remain closed on Sundays.
Enforces Day of Rest
Many visitors to
Germany can find themselves standing outside a closed department store,
However, Germany's Constitutional Court has now upheld a complaint made by the country's Catholic and Protestant churches, based on a clause in the German constitution that Sunday should be a day of rest and "spiritual elevation." The court on Tuesday decided in favor of the churches, saying that Sunday opening should not take place four weeks in a row. The ruling will not affect shopping this December, but would come into force next year. However, the ruling did not overturn completely the principle of limited Sunday store opening.
A Day to Synchronize Society
Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: "The judgment sounds antiquated, maddeningly
unmodern and pretty patronizing. It tells citizens when they are allowed to
shop, and when they are not. It makes shopping on a Sunday an exception. It is a
ruling that goes against the economic liberal zeitgeist and is a ruling against
the round-the-clock commercialization of life."
"Yet, the ruling is humane. It is an act in favor of the public spirit. Those who regularly go shopping on Sundays today will have to work regularly on Sundays tomorrow."
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven." Revelation 12:7, 8.