The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State
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Genealogy of Sunday Laws

The following statements, in form of quotations, present in succinct form the facts regarding the origin and history of Sunday laws:

Researched by Jim Allison


  1. Protestantism in America: "During nearly all our American history, the churches have influenced the States to make and improve Sabbath laws."-Rev. W. F. Crafts, in Christian Statesman, July 3, 1890, p. 5.

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  3. Younger States of America: In Sunday legislation we have followed the example of the older States.

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  5. Older States: In Sunday legislation and judicial decisions we have followed the example of the oldest States.

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  7. Oldest States: In the matter of Sunday legislation we have followed the example of the original colonies.

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  9. Original Colonies: In the matter of Sunday legislation we followed the precedents and example of old England, which had an established religion and a church and state system.

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  11. Old England: Sunday laws and religious legislation arc the relics of the Catholic Church, incorporated among us when that church was the established church of Christendom, retained when Henry VIII, about 1534 A. D., renounced allegiance to the pope and intensified by a state Protestantism under the Puritan "Christian Sabbath" theory.

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  13. Catholic Church: Sunday laws and religious legislation were incorporated in our system by the craft, flattery, and policy of Constantine and the ambitious bishops of his time, together with the decrees of popes and councils of later date, by which we transmuted the ‘venerable day of the sun' the ‘wild solar holiday of all pagan times,' into the Christian Sabbath, in honor of the resurrection.

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  15. Paganism: "With us, Sunday observance originated in astrology and sun worship; in turning from the Creator to His works of creation, and worshiping the heavenly bodies; in dedicating each day to a planetary deity, making this day, the first in the Biblical week, sacred to the greatest, brightest, and most luminous visible object in the heavens, the sun. (See Rom. 1:21-25; Eze. 8:15, 16.)(1)

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  17. Sunday: "So called because this day was anciently dedicated to the sun, or to its worship."-Webster (ed 1925)

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  19. Sun Worship: "The oldest of all forms of idolatry." (See Job 3 1: 26-28.)

(1) The Impossible.-any other day than the first might have been God's rest day. Instead of creating the heavens and earth in six days and resting on the seventh, He might have created them in five, four. three, or two days, or even in one day, and rested the next: but He could not have created them on the first day and rested on that same day. This would have been impossible. Thus, in changing God's rest day, men have chosen the impossible. This is the day the observance of which men, for sixteen hundred years, have been seeking to enforce upon their fellow men by law, and concerning which there is now in progress a worldwide movement for its compulsory observance. This, in subtle and refined form, is but the return to paganism and its methods under a Christian guise.

Source of Information:

American State Papers on Freedom in Religion, 3rd Revised Edition. Published in 1943 for The Religious Liberty Association, Washington, D.C. by the Review and Herald. First Edition Compiled by William Addison Blakely, of the Chicago Bar. (1890) under the title American State Papers Bearing on Sunday Legislation , pp 577-578.