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The 7th Day Adventist Church mentions that before the end of the time, the Papacy and the USA will introduce a Sunday Law (known as Blue Law) which will enforce the keeping of Sunday as worship day (moment in which the Sunday would become the Mark of the Beast).

Because the recent election from the United States, a lot of speculations appeared (again) about this Sunday Law.

Even this morning, a friend even sent me this photo on Facebook:

It's obvious it's a fake image. From a quick Google search, I found the original/unedited image on the CNN website. Ironically, I have just learned from this very page I found what an executive order means. Seems that such an order doesn't have to be passed by the Congress.

I simply explained my friend that this is not the case yet, and it's just a terribly edited image.

But, a thought came in my mind: actually, how easy would it be to implement such a law at all?

The doctrine of 7th Day Adventists says the Sunday is not yet the mark of the beast, but it will be once such a Sunday Law will be enforced (in the US, and then in other countries). You can read more on this page.

Reading about Trump banning imigration from 7 countries and all the protests that followed, makes me curious how easy is it to introduce such a blue law and how easy would it be to block it. And this happened quite quikly (just a few days).

I also read a book (National Sunday Law, by Alonzo T. Jones) about the discussion which took place when such a blue law was going to be introduced, but thankfully it didn't pass, in 1888.

U.S. Senator Henry Blair (R-NH) introduced a national Sunday bill in 1888 which thankfully did not pass. Alonzo T. Jones, of the California Conference of the SDA church, spoke before the United States Senate Committee on Education and Labor about the subject. Jones also wrote a book, National Sunday Law, published in 1889.

–– Wikipedia

It looks like such blue laws existed, but not at national level, but only in few states. For example, Virginia and Connecticut:

Whosoever shall profane the Lord's day, or any part of it, either by sinful servile work, or by unlawful sport, recreation, or otherwise, whether wilfully or in a careless neglect, shall be duly punished by fine, imprisonment, or corporally...But if the court upon examination, by clear and satisfying evidence, find that the sin was proudly, presumptiously, and with a high hand committed against the known command and authority of the blessed God, such person therein despising and reproaching the Lord, shall be put to death, that all others may fear and shun such provoking rebellious courses

It seems that in 1988, they were repealed.

While, not enforcing (yet), in the EU, there is an orgnization called European Sunday Alliance which pleads for Sunday keeping, the arguments being: life-work balance, work-free day, spending time with families etc. They specifically chose Sunday, and not other day of the week.

The Bible does mention God resting on Saturday (the 7th day of the week), while Sunday is designed to be like a simple day (being also, the first day of the week).

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Genesis 2:2-3

While I do support keeping of Saturday, because of my religious beliefs, I think each human being should be free to organize their life-work balance, that's being part of the basic rights we have as humans and it's not OK to enforce politically such things.


  • So, in what conditions, would a National Sunday Law be enforced?
  • Can we guess what would be the steps to such a change?
  • How long it will take to be introduced (since we find about it and until the religion freedom will be limited to people)?
  • Will people oppose to such a law?

    I'm sure it's not going to say directly: if you don't go to the church on Sundays, you'll die, but good arguments will be eventually found.

  • Maybe, will it be an executive order?

  • What would it happen if the president would sign tomorrow an executive order which will enforce the Sunday keeping? Are there any What are the ways to stop it?

    It doesn't have to last long since, in the view of the 7th Day Adventists, it will not take a long time since the Sunday worship enforcement and the second coming of Jesus.


While I'm totally against in sharing fake stories, like the one I received from my friend (the above image), I do keep an eye on this subject since I do support religion freedom.

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    While it might be hard to frame as a religious holiday, it might be possible to frame it as employee rights protection. Similar laws exist in other countries, like the ArbZG in Germany which makes it illegal to employ people on Sundays (without such draconic punishments, of course, and with plenty of exceptions). – Philipp Jan 31 '17 at 9:42
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    @Philipp Interesting. I didn't know about ArbZG. Here, in the EU, there is an organization pleading for Sunday rest in the EU conferences (the arguments being to spend time with family, having a work-free day––which is specifically Sunday etc etc). – Ionică Bizău Jan 31 '17 at 9:54
  • In general, in Spain the issue is between small retailers and big retailers. Big retailers have enough people working that it is easy to organize shifts covering all seven days; but that hurts business that do not open in Sunday (because many people have more time for shopphing in Sunday). The only alternative for small retailers is to open also in Sunday, but they do not have enough workers to organize shifts and end up overworking. Currently retail is allowed to open only a few Sundays/holidays each year. Again, no religious intent at all. – SJuan76 Jan 31 '17 at 11:58
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    There was at least one case in which a Jew was cited for violating a Blue Law (store open on Sunday). He was found not guilty because he was closed on the Sabbath (Saturday) in accordance with Jewish law. As a result, the court held that he had acted in accordance with the law. – sabbahillel Jan 31 '17 at 15:25
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    Executive orders have to be based in some statutory authority granted by Congress, or a requirement imposed by Congress. So the president can't just make orders like that. That said, if Congress passed a law or the president issued such an order, it would be very unlikely to withstand a court challenge on first amendment grounds. – phoog Jan 31 '17 at 17:40
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So, in what conditions, would a National Sunday Law be enforced?

Sunday laws – or "Blue laws", as they're often called in the United Stated – used to be widespread and are slowly, piece by piece, being repealed. Usually, they are industry specific. For example, until recently in Colorado, you could not sell package liquor on Sundays (now you can). But, you still can't buy a car on a Sunday.

It also used to be against the law to open a bank on a Sunday, something that is now legal, although only a few banks do so (TCF is one of the few).

New Zealand used to have fairy strict Blue law, and Germany is probably the world leader for the intense blue law enforcement across a wide variety of industries at once, although every blue law has some exceptions. Israel has some Sabbath Blue Laws.

Usually enforcement is not a problem because violating the law would be a ground for violating a business license.

Can we guess what would be the steps to such a change?

There won't be such a change because the trend is going strongly the other direction. Quite a few were passed in the Eisenhower Administration coincident with adding "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, "In God We Trust" on currency, putting Ten Commandments plaques in front of municipal buildings (a project of the Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic civic organization), and union efforts to secure time off for workers (hence the union slogan "we brought you the weekend") at a time of extreme labor power and a shortage of workers in the manufacturing industry.

This surge of religious sentiment was a product of the Cold War. It distinguished the United States as a religious country from the Soviet Union and its allies that were atheist as a matter of state edict.

How long it will take to be introduced (since we find about it and until the religion freedom will be limited to people)?

It won't happen at all. It peaked most recently in the 1950s (although there were previous peaks) and has declined pretty steadily since the 1970s as they have been repealed piecemeal, although the Courts have upheld Blue Laws as a constitutional way to provide a coordinated break from work to people.

Will people oppose to such a law?

Yes. People these days don't like to be inconvenienced and church attendance and religious identification rates are both falling dramatically.

But, people also opposed repealing, for example, the Sunday liquor store ban in Colorado. The opposition came mostly from family owned liquor stores where the owner would either face competitive pressure to work seven days a week, or would have to hire a first employee so as not to have to work seven days a week despite the competitive pressure, increasing their overhead.

The store owners, probably accurately, guessed that their weekly sales wouldn't change much whether they were open six days a week or seven, because aggregate demand wouldn't change, but they would have to spend more days working, and if they weren't open all seven days, they would lose market share to those who were, so they needed the government to honor this market collusion to close one day a week.

I'm sure it's not going to say directly: if you don't go to the church on Sundays, you'll die, but good arguments will be eventually found. Maybe, will it be an executive order?

Historically, this has almost never happened. When you pass a law like that legislator's want credit for it with the base of people who care.

The Puritans in New England did formally give a religious justification as that continued until the First Amendment's establishment clause jurisprudence was well established well into the 1800s.

But the argument that there is a secular purpose for Blue Laws is much more legitimate than the argument that there is a secular purpose for "In God We Trust" on coins which Courts have nonetheless accepted (under the "ceremonial deism" doctrine). A national day of rest on Sundays isn't that much different from, for example, laws that declare that the 4th of July is a national holiday which no one would claim violates the First Amendment's establishment clause.

What would it happen if the president would sign tomorrow an executive order which will enforce the Sunday keeping? Are there any What are the ways to stop it?

First of all, the President wouldn't sign one. Secondly, I can't think of any statute that would give him the authority to issue one. If he tried to do so, somebody materially affected by the law, such as a business forced to close its doors on Sunday, would go to a District Court judge and seek first a temporary restraining order, then a preliminary injunction and ultimately a permanent injunction establishing that he has no statutory authority to do so.

It doesn't have to last long since, in the view of the 7th Day Adventists, it will not take a long time since the Sunday worship enforcement and the second coming of Jesus.

If you want to believe that, so be it.

This belief sounds like conspiratorial crazy talk to those of us who are not members of the faith, and people have been predicting the second coming of Jesus is right around the corner since the day after the crucifixion. But, given the utterly unlikelihood of a Blue Law every being enacted again, you have nothing to worry about.

(As an aside, why do Christians call it the "second coming of Jesus" instead of the "third coming of Jesus"? The guy is born (first time), and then dies and comes back and the ascends ("second time"), so why wouldn't a future return to Earth be a third coming? I never really understood that phrase.)

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    Probably its the second time coming back from the dead, not just being in the world. – Andy Feb 3 '17 at 2:52
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So, in what conditions, would a National Sunday Law be enforced?

It will never be enforced. If no one is allowed to work on Sundays, that includes emergency services, and ironically clergy as well. So, it would be unenforceable because all the churches would be closed, and no one could follow it.

Can we guess what would be the steps to such a change?

At the federal level, it would have to pass through a relevant committee in Congress, then be passed by that house of Congress, then be passed by the other house of Congress, as with any law. It would then be quickly challenged in federal court, probably appealed to the Federal Court of Appeals, then quickly appealed to the Supreme Court, who would summarily knock it down based on violating the First Amendment, Eighth Amendment, and possibly Tenth Amendment. Alternatively, it will not be appealed, and will simply be challenged in all fifty states by the ACLU on its first day, then struck down in summary judgement by all federal courts it is challenged in.

How long it will take to be introduced (since we find about it and until the religion freedom will be limited to people)?

Most likely the general public wouldn't hear about it until it got out of Committee (for the reason I'll explain in the next point), so between hearing about it and it passing there would likely be at least a few months of debate, reconciliation between the two houses, and probably filibustering.

Will people oppose to such a law?

The only reason this would not be immediately opposed by groups like the ACLU is that they'll probably assume it is one of the many ridiculous laws proposed in committee frequently. Once it looks like it will get out of committee, they will likely make it their number one priority to make the law well-known publicly to turn opinion against it.

I'm sure it's not going to say directly: if you don't go to the church on Sundays, you'll die, but good arguments will be eventually found. Maybe, will it be an executive order?

Executive Orders can only define how existing laws are enforced (among other uses that aren't relevant here), not create new law. With that said, Presidents have a habit of finding creative ways to interpret existing laws when it suits their orders, so assuming the President did decide to attempt to enforce it via Executive Order, it would quickly be challenged by e.g. the ACLU and struck down in federal court.

What would it happen if the president would sign tomorrow an executive order which will enforce the Sunday keeping? Are there any What are the ways to stop it?

See above. The first judge it hits (probably in about 5 minutes after the ACLU files suit with "Do we really need to waste time explaining why this violates the First Amendment?") will approve an injunction to suspend the order until the case has been heard. I've been saying it would be struck down in summary judgement, but even assuming it wasn't the judge would approve such an injunction.

Answering the somewhat more serious question of whether a Sunday law without the prayer and punishment could be passed, the answer is probably not in the US. Sunday is a big day for shopping, since most people have the weekend off. Retail lobbyists will petition strongly against it, as will lobbyists for any companies that run 24/7 customer support. It will also mean people will be hesitant to drive because all gas stations will be closed, will not be able to get technicians for utilities like heating and electricity, and will not be able to go to any restaurants or most other entertainment activities that require paying someone else to work, which we Americans will never accept.

  • "It would then be quickly challenged in federal court, probably appealed to the Federal Court of Appeals, then quickly appealed to the Supreme Court, who would summarily knock it down based on violating the First Amendment." Actually not. There is ample case law upholding the constitutionality of Blue Laws against First Amendment challenges. – ohwilleke Feb 2 '17 at 22:17
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    @ohwilleke The XO text in the question also violates the 8th Amendment, and specifically mentions prayer. The part about 7th Day Adventurists is about a day of worship, so I'm assuming that was the law which the question is supposing were passed. If the National Sunday Law mentioned was simply that all businesses were closed on Sundays, I would agree that it may not be found to be unconstitutional, though I would be interested if the courts would find it to be a breach of the 10th Amendment. – IllusiveBrian Feb 3 '17 at 18:33
  • How in the world would it violate the 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment? Mentioning prayer alone probably wouldn't matter, although requiring prayer on pain of criminal violation would. The 10th Amendment is at most an interpretive principle, I can't think of a single instance when it has been used to recognize a positive right to anything. – ohwilleke Feb 3 '17 at 19:18
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    @ohwilleke "Anyone who violates will be rebaptized, waterboarded or sent to jail for 10 years" seems like cruel and unusual punishment for not praying on Sunday to me. As for the tenth, point me to the clause in the Constitution that allows Congress to legislate the timing of prayer. Even if we are just talking about closing businesses, this does not appear to fall under the Commerce clause except possibly for businesses that operate over state lines (e.g. shipping/transportation or maybe multi-state businesses), which is the only one I am aware of that might be applicable. – IllusiveBrian Feb 3 '17 at 20:19
  • Obviously it depends on what a law says. A "National Sunday Law" does not naturally convey the impression of a law like the one you suggest, but clearly such a law would indeed be unconstitutional and beyond the scope of existing precedents, although the 10th Amendment would still be unlikely to apply. Of course, anyone who thinks that a law like the one you quote would ever be adopted in the U.S. in the foreseeable future by any means is off their rocker and profoundly out of touch with reality. Even Trump wouldn't do that. – ohwilleke Feb 3 '17 at 20:27

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