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Devils Advocate
Recently I read an op-ed about blue laws here in the state of Indiana (the state in which I'll be living in until May, when I return to the promise land, aka Texas, Austin specifically). For Indiana the law which affects most people is the no-alcohol sales law, which takes place on Sunday. This strikes me as odd since you can buy alcohol on the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) and Muslim Sabbath (Friday), do they not count? Blue Laws were originally made to increase attendance at church and have been challenged in the Supreme Court (McGowan V. Maryland, 1961). But it was decided that:

"While such laws originated to encourage attendance at Christian churches, the contemporary Maryland laws were intended to promote the secular values of "health, safety, recreation, and general well-being" through a common day of rest." (Wikipedia).

and

"Such secular arguments included the idea that it was desirable and healthy for the government to encourage people to take a day off each week for rest and relaxation." (About.com)

Are Blue Laws an endorsement of Christian Beliefs?

Do you believe they should be repealed?

Do you agree with the Supreme Court decision
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Victoria Silverwolf
Pretty easy questions.

1. Yep.

2. Yep.

3. Nope.

This stuff about the "secular purpose" of blue laws reminds me of the claim that posting the Ten Commandments on government property is somehow "historical" or "educational." It's an obvious smokescreen to cover up the facts that these laws are based on Christian doctrine.

Let me say here that I fully support the right of individuals to observe the Sabbath in any reasonable manner. The fast food chain Chik-Fil-A chooses not to open on Sunday. That's fine. No employee of any company should be forced to work on the Sabbath or any other holy day. Similarly, no business should be forced to close on the Sabbath.

I have to agree with the dissenting opinion issued by Justice Douglas in McGowan v Maryland:

QUOTE
I do not see how a State can make protesting citizens refrain from doing innocent acts on Sunday because the doing of those acts offends sentiments of their Christian neighbors.

The First Amendment commands government to have no interest in theology or ritual; it admonishes government to be interested in allowing religious freedom to flourish - whether the result is to produce Catholics, Jews, or Protestants, or to turn the people toward the path of Buddha, or to end in a predominantly Moslem nation, or to produce in the long run atheists or agnostics. On matters of this kind government must be neutral. This freedom plainly includes freedom from religion with the right to believe, speak, write, publish and advocate antireligious programs.







BoF
Are Blue Laws an endorsement of Christian Beliefs?

For the most part, yes. That is, unless they have an option that people with other days of worship can exercise. Then it becomes an endorsement of generic religion.

Blue laws are still somewhat widespread.

QUOTE
In Texas, for example, blue laws prohibited selling housewares such as pots, pans, and washing machines on Sunday until 1985; Texas as well as Illinois, Indiana and Michigan car dealerships continue to operate under blue-law prohibitions in which an automobile may not be purchased or traded on a Sunday. Many U.S. states still prohibit selling alcohol on Sunday, or at least before noon on Sunday.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_law

Do you believe they should be repealed?

Most definitely. Whether the laws support Christianity or generic religion, I think they should be repealed.

I think Wikipedia has this partially wrong. As I remember Texas blue laws, they disallowed sale of certain items on consecutive Saturdays and Sundays. This meant that Jews, Seventh Day Adventist, Seventh Day Baptist, etc. could choose not to sell forbidden items on Saturday.

The Texas blue laws were a pain in the butt. If we went to the grocery store, we could buy all the ingredients for making cookies—flour, salt, sugar, chocolate chips, peanut butter, shortening, etc. If we needed a cookie sheet or cookie cutter, we had to wait until Monday. down.gif

I remember going to Safeway with my parents as a child. The items they were not allowed to sell were covered with ridiculous looking plastic sheets. crying.gif

Do you agree with the Supreme Court decision?

Not only no, but hell no. devil.gif
AuthorMusician
Are Blue Laws an endorsement of Christian Beliefs?

Yes, and they illustrate the folly of legislating religion. How would people like it if all the computer networks were to be shut down for 24 hours each week? That would need to happen to give techies a day off from the pager and from the monitors.

Do you believe they should be repealed?

You mean some actually still exist? Amazing. Here I thought the US had grown out of this phase, but apparently not. Oh wait, there's a political party that has members trying to regress this nation. Sorry, my bad.

Yep, get rid of them. Let people figure out how to work weekends, holidays and vacations.

Do you agree with the Supreme Court decision

At least one day of rest per week is reasonable, so why not just include that in the labor laws? By gosh, I do think that's in there, called a 40-hour work week. Now if this could be extended to exempt labor . . . , well, that's probably way to radical right now.
Yogurt
QUOTE
Are Blue Laws an endorsement of Christian Beliefs?


Obviously it started out influenced by religion, but so did the Constitution and the rest of the country for that matter. That was some 200 years ago. They have become part of the fabric now, so that if you strip away the religion it remains standing though.

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Do you believe they should be repealed?


That should be up to the residents of Indiana. Maybe Hoosiers are intelligent enough to go up on Saturday night and get a six-pack for Sunday.
If I lived there, I wouldn't be too concerned. There are many laws I don't necessarily agree with, but since they are of little or no impact, I don't really loose any sleep over them. "No Harm/No Foul " tongue.gif .
I try not to go out actively look for ways that I can consider myself offended so that I can demand redress, but I guess some people have too much time on their hands.

Why doesn't anyone demand the barber shops be open on Monday? Oh, because the barbers union is behind that one, I understand blush.gif .

Maybe the blue laws are all good. Maybe they force people to think 24 hours ahead, what a concept! If I'm too dumb to pick up a six-pack Saturday, maybe sobering up on Sunday would be a good thing.

QUOTE
Do you agree with the Supreme Court decision


Of course! Any time they defer to the State's laws I agree thumbsup.gif
Again, It's still in the laps of the State residents and the elected representatives. If they vote out the laws, then the decision becomes mute.
Vibiana
Blue laws were much stricter when I was a child. Back in the 60s and 70s you couldn't buy diapers, for example, on Sundays.

I live near the Kansas/Missouri state line, and I think Kansas' blue laws are different from Missouri's. However, I don't drink much, so I don't pay attention to when I can buy booze. LOL

I think blue laws should be repealed because they do have a religious origin. So no, I do not agree with the Supreme Court's ruling.
aevans176
QUOTE(Devils Advocate @ Oct 5 2005, 09:23 PM)

Are Blue Laws an endorsement of Christian Beliefs?

Do you believe they should be repealed?

Do you agree with the Supreme Court decision

*



These are going to be surprising arguments coming from ME, so bof and victoria, I hope you're sitting down. It looks like we're in agreement (mostly)!!!

The Blue laws, as ridiciulous as they may seem by today's standards, were a part of southern culture (as bof eluded to) for a large part of our nation's history... like it or not.

The presiding religion (and a large portion of plymouth rock-ring a bell?) in America was/is Christianity. Of course, as time has turned the tides, our nation has moved further into secular living, which of course is good for many. Frankly, I believe that this trend has come full circle in many cases (i.e. school prayer, Supreme Court decisions on the 10 commandments, etc) and that many states are moving back into a "less-secular" stance, but that's just my two cents and a very "southern" view on the idea.

That being said- blue laws inhibit commerce, impose on non-theists and non-christians, do not prevent the purchase of said products during other days, and have very limited benefit.

You're saying... what is the benefit??
Well, growing up in Louisiana (and spending time in even West Tx as a kid), I came to understand that people working in grocery stores, liquor stores, and even restaurants at times were glad to not have to work on Sunday.

However, what about the small business that needed the revenue from the 7th day of operation? What about the taxes collected from the sale of alcohol/ammunition for Sunday football games, trips to the lake, or hunting trips?

People grew to understand the necessity of planning ahead. Want to hear something funny? Even in Dallas, you still can't buy hard liquor on Sundays at the store. This doesn't really affect me (in that I'm really not a heavy drinker), but it's just plain retarded. What's the point? I live in a very wet part of the city, and can go to one of literally hundreds of bars in close proximity who will gladly sell me a drink of any sort. Why can the store that sells liquor only sell me beer/wine on Sunday? senseless if you ask me...
Mrs. Pigpen
I'll agree with the majority for the first two:

Are Blue Laws an endorsement of Christian Beliefs? Probably, usually.

Do you believe they should be repealed? Yes

Do you agree with the Supreme Court decision YES. If a district doesn't desire liquor sales on Sunday (or ever, for that matter), that is their prerogative. They should be able to ban liquor sales in their own district. People should be able to make that change through the democratic process if they don't like it, or move if it's that important to them. This doesn't violate theanti-establishment clause any more than an anti-littering law would violate the right to freedom of speech.

I also believe the USSC was correct in their interpretation that the contemporary Maryland laws were likely intended to "promote the secular values of health, safety, recreation, and general well-being through a common day of rest." Why not? Actually, such concepts of mutual benefit are precisely what led to the customs, taboos, and rituals of all religions...for example, it isn't an accident that eating pork, a water-intensive meat to grow, was banned by the desert religions. Not all of those concepts are obsolete, many are part of our laws today (and I don't mean just the blue ones).
Devils Advocate
QUOTE(aevans176)
Well, growing up in Louisiana (and spending time in even West Tx as a kid), I came to understand that people working in grocery stores, liquor stores, and even restaurants at times were glad to not have to work on Sunday.


QUOTE(Yogurt)
Why doesn't anyone demand the barber shops be open on Monday? Oh, because the barbers union is behind that one, I understand blush.gif .


For these two quotes I have one response: if the store wants to close on Sunday, Monday, or whatever that's their decision. In the Blue Law cases the state is mandating that the store cannot be open or sell certain goods whether they want to or not, with no attention paid to the religion of the store owners. What about the small business owner who needs his store open 7 days a week? Why should a store owned by Jews or Muslims have to conform to laws set up for Christians? Is that not forcing anothers belief structure on others?
Yogurt
QUOTE(aevans176 @ Oct 6 2005, 09:44 AM)
The Blue laws, as ridiciulous as they may seem by today's standards, were a part of southern culture (as bof eluded to) for a large part of our nation's history... like it or not....


Wow, until this moment I did not realize that Ohio and Indiana were part of the South. It's amazing what you can learn here. I guess I'd better get a copy of "Hooked on Drawl". tongue.gif

It was pretty much a National thing, but on a state-by-state basis. They also have mostly been repealed on a state-by-state basis, so why should the USSC bother to get involved (Other than maybe that donations are up at the ACLU, so they need to do something with the money wink.gif )
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aevans176
QUOTE(Devils Advocate @ Oct 6 2005, 09:43 AM)
For these two quotes I have one response: if the store wants to close on Sunday, Monday, or whatever that's their decision.  In the Blue Law cases the state is mandating that the store cannot be open or sell certain goods whether they want to or not, with no attention paid to the religion of the store owners.  What about the small business owner who needs his store open 7 days a week? Why should a store owned by Jews or Muslims have to conform to laws set up for Christians?  Is that not forcing anothers belief structure on others?
*



Please read the rest of my post, in that I don't believe that there is any benefit other than the workers not having to be there on Sunday....

It's counter productive from both a private revenue standpoint as well as from a taxation aspect. It just doesn't make sense... whether it infringes on anyone's belief systems or not.
BoF
QUOTE(aevans176 @ Oct 6 2005, 09:59 AM)
It's counter productive from both a private revenue standpoint as well as from a taxation aspect.


This is correct. The reason the Texas legislature repealed the blue laws was to boost sales tax receipts.

Wow! I don't know if I'm going to be cursed or blessed today. I agree with aevans176 on something. tongue.gif
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