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The Sabbath Blog

Repealing “Blue Laws”

Repealing “Blue Laws”

In 2015, the state of Alabama repealed its “blue law,” which restricted the hours of operation for businesses on Sundays. Recently, the Cullman City Council reviewed their own local laws and decided that the state’s change made their Sunday business restrictions void. They have formally announced the bans would be lifted. Ironically, this change doesn’t affect the sale of alcohol. Even though Sunday liquor sales have been legal in Alabama since 2011, they will still be restricted in Cullman.

Did you know laws governing Sunday business and worship in America have been around for a long time? The first such law was set in place back in 1610 in the colony of Virginia. It required every citizen to attend church services on Sunday twice a day. A first offense would mean you would lose your food allowance. A second offense meant the same, plus a whipping. And a third offense meant death! And this was not the law of a totalitarian country. This was America.

The nickname “blue law” comes from the church-state connection to these Sunday laws. In reality, such laws defy the separation of church and state founded in the U.S. constitution, which protects religious liberty. Many in our day see such laws as old-fashioned and outdated.

But perhaps there is more at stake in these blue laws, which still exist in many states, though are not actively enforced. As the wall of separation continues to be challenged in America, some believe compulsory church attendance could return as a way to "save our country" from sliding further away from the nation's self-proclaimed Christian heritage.

Read more about blue laws here!

More Sabbath news ...

Sunday Laws in America, from Religious Liberty magazine, delves more deeply into the history of blue laws in America.

Do We Really Need a New Synagogue or Church Building? In an article by Rabbi Howard Siegel, the Sabbath is viewed as sacred time rather than space.

Is the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday?  Many continue to wrestle with this question. This article appeals to Colossians 2 to set aside the seventh day Sabbath. But is this an accurate understanding of the passage? Read this article for answers.

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