There is a supernatural awakening happening in these last days! Christians around the world have been given a divine invitation from the Holy Spirit to come back to the roots of their faith. Like the prodigal son, God’s people are returning home to their Father, leaving behind the doctrines and denominations of man, and embracing their true identity!
During the reign of Solomon, the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms. Both of these kingdoms were exiled into the nations because of their disobedience, but only one, the southern Kingdom, maintained its identity and returned to the land. What happened to the northern Kingdom? Where are the lost tribes? Now, with the advent of Christ, does it even matter? Has Israel been replaced by “the church?” Is God no longer the God of Israel? Finally, how do Gentile Believers fit in to all of this?
You might be surprised to discover just how relevant these pressing questions are to your own life. The time is now for God’s people to connect to the true roots of their Christian faith and return home. Do you hear the call?
When the Sunday-sabbath is enforced by the “state,” Sunday receives official endorsement and recognition and therefore leads to discrimination and persecution against the minorities who observe the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday). Throughout the centuries many have endured persecution and hardships by oppressive Sunday laws. Prophecy declares (Rev. 13:15-17) that these days are coming again.
A Repeal the 1961 Supreme Court Decision on Sunday Laws
Discrimination has no room in a modern democratic society. Sunday laws limit the privileges and opportunities of both religious and non-religious minority groups who don’t consider Sunday as a special or sacred day. At the same time Sunday laws favor and benefit the larger Christian populations who do consider Sunday as sacred and in need of protection.
Sunday laws should have never been passed in the first place because historically they were designed to create uniformity in worship for all of society and ultimately they are unfair because they discriminate against other religious groups. There is no good reason to keep them around on our legal statutes for any future considerations. A successful repeal now would eliminate it’s discriminating legacy forever and ensure religious liberty for everyone.
Sunday laws were enshrined and codified as the law of the land by four US Supreme Court decisions: 1. McGowan vs. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420 (1961); 2. Gallagher vs. Crown Kosher Supermarket, 366 U.S. 617 (1961); 3. Braunfeld vs. Brown, 366 U.S. 599 (1961); 4. Two Guys from Harrison vs. McGinley, 366 U.S. 582 (1961).
Most of these cases involved Jews whose businesses were closed on Saturday due to their religious conviction of resting on the seventh-day Sabbath. They wanted to be open on Sunday because of the burden of having to close their businesses two days a week. Sunday laws were causing economic hardships to the small Jewish communities because it caused them to closes their businesses two days a week—Saturday, because that was their day of worship—and Sunday because of the Sunday law. On the other hand Sunday laws placed no burden upon the larger Christian communities because their businesses could open six days a week because Sunday already was their day of worship.
So the Jews claimed that Sunday laws were unfair because it discouraged Saturday-keeping and encouraged Sunday-keeping. The Jews also claimed that Sunday laws were discriminatory because the laws economically rewarded one group and economically punished others. And instead of considering the religious beliefs of these Saturday, Sabbath-keeping Jews, the 1961 Supreme Court ruled that (1) people need to have a day of rest and that (2) Sunday is the uniform day of rest for all citizens.
Even though Sunday laws were indirectly creating a financial burden to the Jews and ultimately it was more expensive financially to keep Saturday than Sunday, the US Supreme Court explained that Sunday laws didn’t forbid the Jews from observing their own Sabbath. Thus Sunday laws were upheld and the discrimination continued.
The discrimination continued for the next three years until the US Congress passed a landmark piece of legislation called The Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law came about not to directly help the Saturday-keeping Jews but rather to stop the blatant discrimination against African-Americans throughout the country. The new law outlawed all discrimination in the United States that was based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This law means that businesses, including the government, have to accommodate peoples religious beliefs—including their day of worship.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 should have instantly repealed the Sunday law question; but for some reason it didn’t. These laws are still on the books and at any moment they can be revived and come back to discriminate against the religious faith of American citizens.
Sunday laws were originally founded and instituted to force people to go to church on Sunday. Emperor Constantine, who wrote the first Sunday law in 321 A.D., made Sunday the official day of rest for the Roman Empire. This law caused the church attendance to explode and was meant to benefit the Christian church.
The Dr. Samuel Peters, a Puritan descendant and graduate from Yale University, wrote about the origin of the old Sunday laws in early colonial America during the 1630s in his book called A General History of Connecticut (1781). He explains what was the ultimate objective of these Sunday laws on page 220: “The law prescribes whipping, stocks and fines, for such as do not attend public worship on the Sabbath (Sunday).”
This is the origin of Sunday laws! They are meant to encourage people to attend church on Sunday. As long as these decisions go unchallenged they remain being the law of the land and can be used at any time by any state or by a national act to discriminate against religious minorities in the future. It’s time to ask our lawmakers to repeal these measures once and for all.
Who is actually pushing for Sunday laws? There are several religious and secular groups who are working to restore Sunday as the national day of rest.
1. Protestant Churches – The Protestant Churches have led a militant-style campaign to preserve Sunday as the day rest and worship since the very founding of our nation.
2- Israel – Just recently Israel has made an remarkable change with regards to work-free days of rest. They are pushing for Sunday closing laws and at the same time relaxing the laws that require all store to be closed on the Sabbath, the seventh-day.
3. Secular governments – Many governments have Sunday restrictions. France, England, Croatia, Germany, Australia, Canada, and even the United states have some form of Sunday restriction, some more stringent than others.
4. Labor Unions – Labor unions have been joining religious institutions to secure Sunday as the day of rest throughout Europe. In fact, trade unions in Europe are members of the European Sunday Alliance, an organization committed to enforcing Sunday as the day of rest throughout Europe. Here in America labor unions have also been working to keep Sunday work-free.
5. Roman Catholics – Pope Francis is an ardent proponent of Sunday sacredness. He is pushing for Sunday rest for both the religious community and for the secular public. The Catholic church was responsible for the recent closing of all stores in Germany.
6. Temperance/Social Groups – There are many organization such as the Lord’s Day Alliance, KeepSundaySpecial.org, and Save Our Sundays that are advocating for keeping Sunday sacred and work-free.
7. The media – Every week there are more and more daily newspaper editorials and magazine publications that are calling for a return to the old Sunday laws. We document these new drives by the media in our publication The Eternal Gospel Herald.
These are the forces that will not stop working until there are stricter enforcements of the current existing Sunday laws. In places where Sunday laws are present, stricter calls are made to increase them. In places where Sunday laws are non-existent, calls to return to Sunday-keeping are pushed.
With all the Sunday rest measures being agitated throughout the world we believe that Sunday laws will once again come under the national spotlight here in America in the very near future. Historically, Sunday laws have caused significant distress to the lives of millions of people throughout the generations. That is why we have a tremendous opportunity to ACT and to proceed with actions. It is our duty to ask our US Congressional leaders to repeal the unconstitutionality of these four 1961 Supreme Court rulings once and for all.
Someone has to take the initiative and work to preserve liberty of freedom and worship. Someone has to raise the voice of warning and arouse to action. Seventh-day Adventist have always been at the forefront in the fight against these discriminatory Sunday laws. Back in 1888 our pioneers lobbied to restrain the forces intent on passing a National Sunday Law. In 1961 our people missed a golden opportunity to stand up for religious liberty and for the truth about the Seventh-day Sabbath. Look at what inspiration tells us:
“We as a people have not accomplished the work which God has committed to us. We are not ready for the issue to which the enforcement of the Sunday law will bring us. It is our duty, as we see the signs of approaching peril, to arouse to action. Let none sit in calm expectation of the evil, comforting themselves with the belief that this work must go on because prophecy has foretold it, and that the Lord will shelter His people. We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, pp. 713, 714.
“If they do nothing to disabuse the minds of the people, and through ignorance of the truth our legislators should abjure the principles of Protestantism, and give countenance and support to the Roman fallacy, the spurious sabbath, God will hold His people, who have had great light, responsible for their lack of diligence and faithfulness. But if the subject of religious legislation is judiciously and intelligently laid before the people, and they see that through Sunday enforcement the Roman apostasy would be reenacted by the Christian world, and that the tyranny of past ages would be repeated, then whatever comes, we shall have done our duty.” 1888 Materials, p. 503.
Whether or not we are successful in overturning the Supreme Courts decisions is not the issue. We must warn the leaders of this nation of the dangers of Sunday laws and their relation to the mark of the beast and religious liberty. Let the record show that we were not indolent nor idle in the time of crisis. Let the world know that they are not guiltless or ignorant to the real issues that are before us.
Let us have clean hands and a clean conscience in the day of judgment that we did all we could to avert the coming danger. Help raise awareness to our State and Federal lawmakers and to the public at large about the dangers of Sunday laws.