Early Sunday Laws in America

Sunday law in America

Below you will find many quotes from the book entitled "American State Papers Bearing on Sunday Legislation" showing that the Sunday law has been legislated in America before. Take notice of the statements regarding the penalties of breaking the Sunday law.

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When the Sunday law is enforced again soon, it won't be enough to just not break the Sunday law, Sabbath keepers will be sought out and punished for keeping the true sabbath, the 7th day (Saturday).

"The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet's words: "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelation 12:17. (E.G.White, Great Controversy, p. 592)

Quotes from American State Papers Bearing on Sunday Legislation

"A thorough application of the true principle of religious liberty would rid these Constitutions of these inconsistencies, and repeal every Sunday law now on the statute books of every State in the Union having such laws." (Page 16).

"Many cases of prosecution of Sabbatarians for Sunday work have come to the editor's notice within the past few years, among them being ordained ministers of the gospel." (Page 19).

"Whosoever shall absent himself from divine service any Sunday, without an allowable excuse, shall forfeit a pound of tobacco, and he that absenteth himself a month shall forfeit 50 lbs. of tobacco. fice shillings, fifty pounds of tobacco, OR TEN LASHES FOR NON-CHURCH ATTENDANCE." (Page 34).

"Since religion was disestablished in Virginia and the other original States, the later American Sunday laws have not required Church attendance ; but they have continued to call Sunday "the Sabbath day," and to forbid ordinary labor, business, trade, recreation, and amusements as formerly on that day." (Page 35).

"whosoever shall profane the Lords-day, by doing unnecessary servile Work, by unnecessary travailing, or by sports and recreations, he or they that so transgress, shall forfeit for every such default forty shillings, or be publickly whipt: But if it clearly appear that the sin was proudly. Presumptuously and with a high hand committed, against the known Command and Authority of the blessed God, such a person therein despising and reproaching the Lord, shall he put to death or grievously punished at the Judgement of the Court." (Page 37)

"That from and after the publishing of this law, no person or persons for whatsoever within this Province, shall work or do any bodily labor or occupation upon the Lord's Day, commonly called Sunday, ... (the works of absolute necessity and mercy always excepted)" (Page 45)

"To the end that all people within this province may with the greater freedom devote themselves to religious and pious exercises, be it enacted, etc., that according to the example of the primitive Christians, and for the ease of the creation, every first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, all people shall abstain from toil and labor, that whether masters, parents, children, servants or others, they may the better dispose themselves to read and hear the Holy Scriptures of truth at home, and frequent such meetings of religious worship abroad, as may best suit their respective persuasions." (Page 47)

"Whereas the true and sincere service and worship of God, according to his holy will and commandments, is often profaned and neglected by many of the inhabitants and sojourners within this Province, who do not keep holy the Lord's day, but in a disorderly manner, accustom themselves to travel, laboring, working, shooting, fishing, sporting, playing, horseracing, frequenting of tippling-houses, and the using many other unlawful exercises and pastimes upon the Lord's day, to the great scandal of the holy Christian faith." (Page 50)

"the church-state Sunday laws which have descended to us from the dark ages." (Page 66)

"Within recent years, under its Sunday laws, have occurred numerous prosecutions of conscientious observers of the seventh day, with fines and imprisonments following." (Page 78)

"as this spirit is supplanted by self-interests, the intolerance of state-churchism again manifests itself in reviving the old religious laws, and prosecuting Sabbatarians for Sunday labor, etc." (Page 131)

"In their Constitutions the States have quite generally adopted the principle ; but, with the exception of California, they have all strangely clung to the assumed right to regulate Sunday observance by law, which directly contravenes the principle. In this the taproot of state-churchism still remains." (Page 151)

"Let Sundayism and religious legislation once receive the approval of the controlling power in this nation, and the epoch of religious freedom will be at an end in this land of liberty." (Page 161)

"A National Sabbath Union has been formed within a few years, with the object of revivifying and enforcing the old Sunday laws and securing the enactment of new ones. Most of the religious denominations, if they have not indorsed this Sabbath Union, have taken no ground against it. The Seventh-day Adventists are a notable exception. On the broad ground of a complete separation between church and state, and not because they desire to have the observance of the seventh day (Saturday) enforced by law, they have vigorously opposed the National Sabbath Union. . . . The arrest of Seventh-day Adventists in four different States of the Union, not for dissipation, but for honest farm labor on Sunday, looks like an act of revenge, mean and contemptible beyond expression." (Page 721)

"Mr. Judefind, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church of Rock Hall, Md., was arrested in Kent county, November 20, 1892, on the charge of husking corn out of the shock on Sunday. The complaining witness was the Rev. Mr. Rowe, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church, Rock Hall." (Page 722)

"Mr. Baker, an observer of the seventh day, was arrested April 11, 1893, and tried before Justice Phillips, of Queen Anne county, April 12, on the charge of plowing on Sunday. He was sentenced to pay a fine and cost amounting to eleven dollars ... The judgment of the lower court was affirmed, and he was sent to jail, and served forty-three days." (Page 722)

"Mr. Marvel, another observer of the seventh day, was arrested in Queen Anne county in June, 1893, and prosecuted for setting out tomato plants on Sunday, a work which occupied only a few minutes. The complaining witness against him was his own son." (Page 723)

"A Watchman's Association was formed at Shady Side, to watch seventh-day observers on Sunday, with the avowed intention of getting them all in jail, or driving them from the country." (Page 725)

"R. R. Whaley, treasurer of the Seventh-day Adventist church at Church Hill, Queen Anne county, a carpenter by trade, was engaged to build a meeting-house for his society. On Sunday morning, June 3, 1894, he worked in his garden. A neighbor became offended at the sight, though before making a profession of religion Mr. Whaley had often worked in his garden on Sunday, and sometimes cut enough wood on that day to last the rest of the week, without protest. Evidently, therefore, Mr. Whaley's real crime was in becoming an Adventist." (Page 725)

"During 1895 and 1896, no less than seventy-six Seventh-day Adventists were prosecuted in the United States and Canada under existing Sunday laws. Of these, twenty-eight served terms of various lengths in jails, chain-gang, etc." (Page 726)

Truth Triumphant


"It is my opinion that if the liberties of this country - the United States - are destroyed, it will be by the subtlety of the Roman Catholic Jesuit priests, for they are the most crafty, dangerous enemies to civil and religious liberty. They have instigated most of the wars in Europe".