SUNDAY “BLUE LAWS” HAVE BEEN RAPIDLY VANISHING OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS IN THE UNITED STATES
We live in a day very different from yesteryears colonial puritans with their Sunday “Blue Laws.” Most legislation supporting Sunday closing in the past decades have been struck down. Fewer and fewer enterprises are interested in closing on Sundays, and still fewer are sensitive to the desires of individuals who would choose to keep Sunday as a day of worship and rest.
In Liberty Alert, volume. 2 no.1, January/February 1993, Roland R. Hegstad writes: “Through the years I’ve seen Sunday laws disappear from the books of 21 states most recently from Virginia, which in its colonial phase had a law containing the death penalty. An additional 18 states have so liberalized their laws that it would take a psychopath to search out an illegal act. In the remaining states, county by county, municipality by municipality, Sunday laws are being removed from the books.”
“Arkansas Eliminates Blue Law That Banned Sunday Alcohol Sales” NWAHomePage.com (Arkansas, USA) – “Arkansas became the 36th state to repeal its Blue Law banning Sunday liquor sales at package (liquor) stores, according to the Distilled Spirits Council, which called the state’s decision a sign of things to come across the South as legislators continue looking for ways to raise revenue without raising taxes in this sour economy.” – March 4, 2009
“Changing Blue Laws to Boost Revenue” KTEN News (Oklahoma, USA) – “Sunday is the one day of the week when liquor stores are not allowed to open in Texas or Oklahoma. But this is no longer true for our neighbor Arkansas who recently changed their Blue Laws and is now allowing liquor stores to open on Sundays… Some residents in our area were opposed to changing the Blue Laws; some felt Sunday was the Lord’s day and others said if they changed the law, it would not affect them at all.” – March 8, 2009
“States across nation rethink ‘blue laws'” KSWO.com (Oklahoma, USA) – “State officials across the nation are looking for different ways to repair budget deficits, and one of the most talked about and controversial is to banish ‘blue laws.’..” – February 24, 2009
“Will the Recession Doom the Last Sunday Blue Laws?”
Time Magazine (USA) – “A handful of state legislatures have declared its closing time for Sunday alcohol sales restrictions, saying an extra day of sales could give their foundering budgets a much-needed shot of revenue. Those states – Georgia, Connecticut, Texas, Alabama and Minnesota – enjoy overwhelming voter support for an extra day of sales.”
“[Sunday sales legislation] always comes bubbling up when the economy goes south,” says David Laband, an Auburn University economics professor who authored Blue Laws: The History, Economics, and Politics of Sunday-Closing Laws. Blue laws, which restrict shopping of any kind on Sunday, date back to the colonial era, Laband says. However, those laws gradually died off as economic forces made some states realize that they could stand to gain by having stores open on Sunday. ” – February 22, 2009
“Bill would allow vote on Sunday alcohol sales” MSNBC.com (Anniston, Alabama, USA) – “A bill that would allow Anniston to call a referendum on whether to allow Sunday alcohol sales passed with unanimous approval in a state Senate committee Wednesday, though bets are off as to whether it will reach the governor’s desk. The bill applies to 13 other cities in the state, including Talladega, Gadsden and Sylacauga, that under current state law can neither sell alcohol on Sundays nor hold a public referendum to change the statute. All forms of alcohol would be covered, according to the wording of the bill.” – February 17, 2009
“Sunday hunting legislation introduced for Baltimore County” Maryland, USA – “Sunday hunting prohibitions are some of the last remnants of religious based legislation and “Blue Laws” that restricted activities of the public on Sundays. Maryland is only one of a few remaining states that still have any restriction on hunting on Sundays. Thirty-nine states have no restrictions on Sunday hunting and of the remainder; only seven have an all out ban. Maryland is not one of them.” – February 17, 2009
“Will blue-law vote go before the public?”
WALB News 10 (Albany, Georgia, USA) – “As the state struggles with a budget crisis, lawmakers may be more willing to allow Sunday alcohol sales.” – February 16, 2009
“Lancaster ‘blue laws’ may be suspended” Fort Mills Times (Fort Mills, South Carolina, USA) – “The floundering state of the economy has the Lancaster County Council considering measures to help out local businesses. In one recent move, the county council gave preliminary approval to a measure that would alter “blue laws” to allow county businesses to open before 1:30 p.m. on Sundays.” – February 10, 2009
“Sunday sales law could hike revenue” Connecticut Post (Connecticut, USA) – “The state’s worsening fiscal situation may finally lead to passage of a law allowing liquor stores the option of opening on Sundays. As we have maintained for many years, such a law would finally rid Connecticut of one of the last vestiges of its antiquated “Blue Laws.”” – February 13, 2009
WFSB Eyewitness News (Connecticut, USA) – “A group of liquor store owners have revived the fight for Sunday liquor sales in the state. Connecticut is one of only three states that enforce the blue law… Sunday is the second busiest shopping day of the week, but Alaimo said because the state prohibits Sunday alcohol sales, Connecticut shoppers are driving over the border to Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island, where Sunday sales are legal.” – January 31, 2009
“Religion no reason to keep blue laws” (Opinion) RedandBlack.com (University of Georgia, USA) – “Our so-called blue laws make no sense, as more enlightened states decided years ago, but year after year we take them in stride. In only the first week of the 2009 Georgia General Assembly, state legislators began working to legalize Sunday package sales.” – January 22, 2009
“Sunday alcohol sales may show up on ballot”
DothanEagle.com (Dothan, AL) – “Sunday alcohol sales in the City of Dothan is expected to be put to a vote later this year.” – January 13, 2009
“Georgia debates ending Sunday blue laws on booze” RedandBlack.com (University of Georgia, USA) (Editorial) – “Blue on blue laws – Conservative Christian groups are the main opponents of Sunday liquor sales, claiming alcohol shouldn’t be sold on the Christian Sabbath. But not everyone in Georgia practices Christianity, and The Red & Black editorial board does not believe the ‘Sabbath’ argument is a valid one.”- January 15, 2009
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, GA) – “Supporters of Sunday store sales of beer, wine and liquor began their latest crusade Tuesday to end Georgia’s blue laws on booze”- January 13, 2009
Macon.com (Macon, GA) – “The state Christian Coalition leader’s comparison of Harp’s proposal to legalized prostitution is absurd. Retail sale of alcoholic beverages, unlike prostitution, is lawful already; it is banned on Sunday by a law everybody implicitly understands is a religious prohibition on the population at large. ‘Blue laws’ have never really made much sense, and Georgia’s peculiar version of them makes none whatever.”- December 21, 2008
“New South Carolina chamber head wants to eliminate blue laws”
TheItem.com – “Other items on the agenda include eliminating blue laws statewide…” – January 9, 2009
“French Sunday law debate put on hold again”
Gulfnews.com – “France’s opposition Socialists claimed a rare victory over the centre-right government when parliamentary debate on a Bill to ease restrictions on Sunday business hours was postponed indefinitely.” – January 6, 2009
“Liquor Sales Staying Strong On Sundays in Sioux Falls, SD”
Keloland.com – “The Sioux Falls city council changed the restriction in November to allow sales of wine and hard liquor every day of the week.” – January 4, 2009
“Indiana debates blue laws against liquor sales on Sundays”
Evansville Courier Press – “According to a poll conducted by the Indianapolis Star, 46 percent of Hoosiers favor the repeal of the so-called blue laws, which prohibit the sale of packaged liquors on Sundays.” – December 23, 2008
“Colorado becomes 13th state to repeal blue laws in regards to liquor sales since 2002”
US News and World Report – “‘All of these repeal efforts are related to economics now,’ says David Laband, author of Blue Laws: The History, Economics, and Politics of Sunday-Closing Laws. ‘There’s no vestige of a religious component anymore.'” – July 8, 2008
CNN Money – “Despite the efforts of well-intentioned crusaders like Wilensky, whose group helped strike down a 2005 proposal in the Connecticut state legislature to allow Sunday sales, a nation without blue laws seems increasingly inevitable.” – July 1, 2008
“In battle for Sunday, the ‘blue laws’ are falling”
The Christian Science Monitor – “Massachusetts joined five states that have relaxed bans on Sunday [alcohol] sales in the past 18 months…Critics decry it as an attack on the Sabbath – and on leisure itself. And both sides agree it’s a further indication that Sunday is becoming just an ordinary day.” – December 5, 2003
“NYC’S Blue Laws”
Gotham Gazette (NY City News & Policy) – “Some may think that this finally means an end to what are called the blue laws, which have regulated Americans’ moral behavior, especially what people can or cannot do on a Sunday, since the 17th century. Things certainly have changed since the time when even a Sunday baseball game was considered immoral — and outlawed.” – May 26, 2003
Germany, and Croatia have been beefing up their Sunday closing laws, and even other parts of Europe. Unfortunately it is not Europe that leads the world towards the Mark of the Beast according to Ellen’s Great Controversy. It is the United States of America. The fact is that grass-roots America is running in the opposite direction as Adventist predicted it would.
“I don’t believe that this (the Sunday Laws) would be acceptable in Washington D.C. and states that collect an Income Tax. That’s the real reason why the Sunday Laws were lifted.” President Barack Obama in 2008 – taken from the web at http://my.barackobama.com.
“If Sunday-keeping is the awful thing Adventists say it is, then what Mrs. White here tells her people to do is positively sinful – a compromise with sin. It is as if Daniel had said to his three Hebrew companions: “When the people are moved by a power from beneath to compel you to bow down and worship images, give them no occasion to call you lawbreakers. That difficulty can be easily avoided. You are to show your wisdom by devoting the time to prayer. Bow down, but while bowed pray to the God of heaven. That kind of worship is always acceptable to God.” In giving the instruction she did, Mrs. White herself removed the ground for the persecution under Sunday laws which she had previously predicted.” D. M. Canright – Life of Mrs. E.G. White – Seventh-day Adventist Prophet – Her False Claims Refuted, Chapter 21 – “Give Sunday to the Lord.”
Perhaps the Adventist church should close its religious liberty department and begin lobbying both at the state and federal levels for Sunday Laws. Perhaps The Seventh-day Adventist need to join the Christian-right and the pope in their apparently futile attempts to urge American’s to reconsider their position against these Sunday closing laws. That might be the only way such a change in the United States could effectively be made and thereby fulfill Ellen White’s Great Controversy vision.
Which by the way she copied from Hastings’s book “The Great Controversy between God and Man.” Ellen White released her version of that book and later named it “The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan” Six months prior to releasing her “Great Controversy,” James White in the Adventist Review and Sabbath Herald gave a “glowing review” of Hastings’s “Great Controversy. That review by her husband was published just four days after her “great controversy vision.” Hastings’s book has nearly the same title and contains nearly the same content from beginning to end.
“These borrowings occurred not only in the historical sections of the Great Controversy, but also in its prophetic sections. They appear in descriptions of the content of specific visions given to Mrs. White. It would be unwise at this point to assert that there is any particular book written by Mrs. White or any type of writing from her pen in which literary borrowing will not be found.” – Ron Graybill, Associate Secretary, Ellen G. White Estate – Presented to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist in November 1981.
That topic of course will have to wait to be discussed in a later chapter. For now it is time to close this chapter on the National Sunday law, because nothing remains to be said, the facts speak for themselves.