Sunday Laws

Civil legal requirements to perform or to abstain from certain activities on Sunday, the first day of the week. Through the centuries Sunday laws have been used to enforce the religious observance of and respect for the Christian Sunday. Therefore, religious reasons have been given for these enactments—first, the authority of the church; later, the authority of the Decalogue, on the theory that the fourth commandment, which enjoins the observance of the seventh day, can be invoked to enforce observance of the first day of the week. Alongside this religious basis, which is still recognized in many lands, another basis has been sought on the theory that Sunday laws can be classed, not as religious legislation, but as secular welfare regulations. (This basis has been used in the United Stat...

From the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Published with permission from the Review and Herald Publishing Association.