Sunday Laws in America

Early American settlers were expected to observe Sundays by attending church and refraining from any activities that could be deemed as 'Un-Christian". This involved abstaining from all work and pleasure, the day was supposed to be set aside wholly for worship.

Laws were rigorously enforced:

"In November 1637, Anne Hutchinson held religious meetings in her home in Boston, Massachusetts, in which she showed by Scripture that Christian experience is based on faith and not merely mechanical works. As a result of these meetings, although a mother of fourteen children and expecting another, she was tried for heresy by the court of Boston in November of that year and evicted from the colony."

"Captain Kemble, of Boston, was, in 1656, set for two hours in the public stocks, for his 'lewd and unseemly behavior,' which consisted in kissing his wife 'publicquely' on Sunday morning on the doorstep of their home on his return from a three-year ocean voyage... "

"In Georgia, Day Conklin was found guilty of chopping wood on Sunday. The Friday before, much of his family's possessions had been soaked in a cloud burst while moving from one house to another. The weather turned bitterly cold and by Sunday morning his supply of wood being gone, he chopped wood as a last resort for the protection of his family. The fine and court cost amounted to $83-a year's salary back then"

Even in the twentieth century, long after the Sunday laws were supposed to have been repealed, certain states were not in favour of any fun on the Sabbath.

"In 1924 a New Jersey court invoked a 1798 blue law and found it illegal to play a phonograph or listen to the radio on Sunday because this was "music for the sake of merriment.""

"In Washington County, Virginia, in 1932, a deputy sheriff arrested two women--one a crippled mother who walked with crutches--for washing clothes in her home. In 1931 in a Philadelphia suburb it is recorded that a policeman arrested a boy for kicking a football on Sunday. When the father protested, the . . . policeman shot and killed the father."


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