U.S. Supreme Court
McGowan v. Maryland 
366 U.S. 420 (1961)

The Crime of All Ages
 

Ten Commandments radio program delivered in the early 90's.
27 Minutes

The Sabbath Day
and
The United States Supreme Court

(Free men don't have to work seven days a week.)

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  ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Bible Law Course Program. This is a series of broadcasts about The Ten Commandants, not as a means to salvation, but as a code of conduct for Christians. In these programs we will show that all our nations problems can be solved with the application of God given laws. 

SPEAKER: Hello. In the late 50's seven employees of a discount department store were arrested for selling on Sunday, a three-ring loose-leaf note book binder, a can of floor wax, a stapler and staples, and a toy submarine. All this in violation of Maryland Code. This was a blue law. 

   A law that prohibited certain Sunday sales, work, and bodily labor. Maryland's blue law statutes excepted all work of necessity and charity. The seven employees were found guilty. And they were fined five dollars and costs.

    This conviction was appealed. They appealed all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. What did the Supreme Court say, guilty or not guilty? Today I will talk about The Ten Commandments and our Supreme Court.

   In this program I will show that the Supreme court of the fifties knew more about the fourth commandment, then do most modern day preachers. Let's get started by listening to the fourth Commandment. This is from Deuteronomy 5 of your Bible. listen;

ANNOUNCER: Deuteronomy 5:1-15: (1) And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. . .

(4) The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, ...

(5)... saying, (6) I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

(7) Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

(8) Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, ...

(11) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: ...

(12) Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee.

13) Six days thou shalt labor, and do all thy work: (14) But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.

(15) And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

SPEAKER: In effect God said, "I brought you out of a land of slavery and I made you a nation of free men. And free men don't have to work seven days a week, therefore keep the Sabbath day."

   Well those who were arrested and fined five dollars for doing business on the Sabbath day were so upset, that they appealed all the way to the Supreme court. The case it titled McGowen vs. Maryland. The legal citation is 366 US 420 - 1961

    I have in my hand a copy of the Supreme Court report. The Court Report is 142 pages of fine print. It contains a very detailed study of the Sabbath day, from the time of Moses 3,500 years ago, all he way to the present. You can read it for yourself at any court house or University Law Library. (Or find it on the Internet.)

   This is one of the Supreme Court cases, that can be used to prove that the United States is a Christian Nation. I have read the complete report and have marked some of it with a yellow highlighter pen. So reading from the report, this is the argument of the people were arrested and fined five dollars, they are called 'the appellants', listen.

    (The question before the Court is) "whether the Maryland Sunday Closing Laws (conflict) with the Federal Constitution's provisions for religious liberty. The appellants contend that the statutes violate the guarantee of separation of church and state.

   The essence of the appellants' "establishment" argument is that Sunday is the Sabbath day of the predominant Christian sects; (they argue) that the purpose of the enforced stoppage of labor on that day, is to facilitate and encourage, church attendance; ... to induce people with no religion or people with marginal religious beliefs to join the Christian sects;.. to aid the conduct of church services and religious observance."

   That's their side of the argument. American law is based upon English law that was in effect before our nation was founded. So the court studied the history of Sabbath observance in England. And this is the court's conclusion. This is what the court said about England, listen;

    "The observation of the above language, and that of the prior mandates, reveals clearly, that the English Sunday legislation was in aid of the established church."

    The Court studied English history and English law. And the court concluded that, in England, before our declaration of Independence, Sunday legislation, in England, was in support of the established church. So at this point in the case, those charged with Sabbath breaking are ahead, they win this round.

    Now for round two. Then the court studied American history and American law. Now, I will continue reading from the court report, listen;

    "But, despite the strongly religious origin of these laws, beginning before the eighteenth century, non-religious arguments for Sunday closing began to be heard ... (and) statutes began to lose their totally religious flavor. The preamble to the 1679 Rhode Island (law) stated the reason for the ban on Sunday employment. (the reason) was that "persons being evil minded, have presumed to employ in servile labor, more than necessity requireth (of) their servants...

    In England, during the First World War, a committee investigating the health conditions of munitions workers, they reported that, "if the maximum output is to be secured and maintained for any length of time, a weekly period of rest must be allowed ... On economical and social grounds alike this weekly period of rest is best provided on Sunday."

    How about that? The Court found that employers worked their people too hard and for that reason, the government found it necessary, on purely social grounds, to enforce a weekly day of rest. The Court report also says, and listen to this;

    "The (reasons for) Sunday closing legislation, are no longer ... exclusively religious. (even though) Sunday laws evolved from wholly religious sanctions..." "Laws setting aside Sunday as a day of rest are upheld, not from any right of the government to legislate for the promotion of religious observances, but from its right to protect all persons from physical and moral debasement which comes from uninterrupted labor...

   One day in seven is the rule, founded in experience, and sustained by science ... The prohibition of secular business on Sunday is advocated, advocated on the ground(s) that . . . the general welfare is advanced, labor (is) protected, and the moral and physical well-being of society is promoted."

    Now, isn't that interesting? The United States Supreme court said, the State can tell you not to work on Sunday but it did not say, that the State can not tell you to go to church on Sunday. Now, concerning our Bill of Rights The First Amendment to our Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." This is what the Court wrote about the first amendment, listen;

    "An early commentator opinioned that the real object of the (first) amendment was ... to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government."

    Here is more from this United States Supreme Court report, it reads;

    "However, the State's purpose is not merely to provide a one-day-in- seven work stoppage. In addition to this, the State seeks to set one day apart, (apart) from all others as a day of rest, repose, recreation and tranquility - a day (on) which all members of the family and (all the) community have the opportunity to spend and enjoy together, a day on which there exists relative quiet and (a) disassociation from the everyday intensity of commercial activities, a day on which people may visit friends and visit relatives, who are not available during normal working days."

    How about that, the state, for the common good, sets aside a day to visit relatives and friends, a day of relative quiet. a day upon which we can take it easy. A day when, as free men, your employer can not force you to work. The court even quoted the Congressional Record. Here is the quotation from the Congressional Record of 1936, These are the words of Representative Loftus.

    He said, "(The Sunday Trading Restriction Act) is a Bill. A bill which is necessary to secure family life and (the) liberty of hundreds of thousands of our people.... I will explain to the House that there are thousands of shopkeepers who hate opening on Sunday. They dislike the whole idea, but are forced to open because their neighbors open not for the sake of the Sunday trading, but because, if they let their customers get into the habit on Sunday of going to other shops they may lose their weekday customer ...

   They have a right to a holiday on Sunday, to be able to rest from work on that day, to go out into the parks or into the country on a summer day. That is the liberty for which they are asking, and that is the liberty which this Bill would give them."

    So, my friends, there you have it. Representative Loftus was not arguing religion, but rather, he was concerned about business and industry. He was concerned about liberty. He was concerned about the social welfare of the people. And later in the debate of the House floor another congressman said, Once again going to read from the Court papers, listen,

    "Frankly, I am afraid of a seven-day week. I see it coming gradually, and a seven-day work week means, six days pay for seven days' work..."

    How about that my friends, six days pay for seven days' work? Now, in these Supreme Court papers the court talked about exceptions that the blue laws allowed. And these exceptions were almost always stated as "except works of necessity and charity."

   Jesus Christ healed on the Sabbath, that was a work of necessity and charity. In Matthew 12:11, Jesus Christ said that it was O.K. to pull an animal out of a pit on the Sabbath day. In Luke 13:15 Jesus Christ said that it was O.K. to feed and water farm animals on the Sabbath day. That is a work of necessity and charity.

    In addition, There are a lot of footnotes in this Supreme Court report. Footnote #86 mentions a Massachusetts law forbidding Sunday work in commerce and industry. Section 51 of the Massachusetts law is quoted, it says,

    "Before operating on Sunday, every employer subject to section 48 ... shall post in a conspicuous place, on the premises, a schedule containing a list of his employees required or allowed to work on Sunday, and designating the day of rest for each. No employee shall be required, or allowed, to work on the day of rest designated for him."

   Now, isn't that interesting? If something had to be done in a factory on Sunday, Massachusetts law required that those workers had to take day off during the week. The law of Massachusetts, at that time, did not allow anyone to work a seven day schedule.

    And here is another footnote. It is footnote #68. Here we find a law drafted by Thomas Jefferson. The law drafted by Thomas Jefferson was entitled, "A Bill For Punishing Disturbers of Religious Worship and Sabbath Breakers."

    (The Bill) also forbade the arrest for any minister of the gospel, while engaged in public preaching or (while performing religious worship in any church, and (to) punish any person who would maliciously disturbing worshipping congregation or misuses any minister therein.

    After this message I will tell you the Supreme Court's decision. Whether it upheld the fine or let the Sabbath breaking drug store employees off the hook.

ANNOUNCER: In the Middle ages millions died of leprosy and bubonic plague. Europe was saved when the leaders applied the health laws found in your Bible. Today aids and other contagious diseases threaten the lives of millions more. The solutions that worked then will work now. But only if we know what they are and only if they are applied. Your Bible offers practical solutions to our national problems. You can have a part in turning things around. Call now - toll free- 1 800 (deleted). We will send free sample Bible Law Course lessons, No obligation. 1 800 (deleted)

MUSIC: Our Father's God

SPEAKER: This all started in the late 50's when seven employees of a discount department store were arrested for selling on Sunday, a three-ring loose-leaf note book binder, a can of floor wax, a stapler and staples, and a toy submarine. All in violation of Maryland Code. A "blue law". A law that prohibited certain Sunday sales, work and bodily labor. Guilty or not guilty?

    At this point in the Court Report we find the words, "Accordingly, the decision is affirmed." In other words, the seven workers were found guilty of breaking the Sabbath and the five dollar fine was upheld. And thus far I read from only a few of the 142 pages of this report. If you want to learn more about the Sabbath day, you will probably find more information at the court house law library than in most church libraries.

    Now, let's turn to the Old Testament, to the Book of Nehemiah. Who was Nehemiah? Was he a prophet? Was he a priest? No, he was not a prophet or priest. In chapter 1 we find him in the king's palace. He was the king's cup bearer. Later he was promoted to the office of governor of Jerusalem. Here is Nehemiah 5:14, Listen to the words of Nehemiah.

ANNOUNCER:    Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, ...

    Nehemiah was a man in government. Nehemiah was a governor of Judea the king of Babylon. He was a governor, just as Pilate was governor of Judea under Caesar. Nehemiah, the governor of Judea, he wrote one of the books of your Bible. Now listen to these words found in chapter 13 of the Book of Nehemiah. The governor is speaking.

ANNOUNCER: (Nehemiah 13:15-21 KJV) (15) In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.

(16) There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.

(17) Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day?

(18) Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath.

(19) And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the Sabbath day.

SPEAKER: Governor Nehemiah gave orders that were equal to any modern day blue law. Nehemiah shut down business and industry on the Sabbath. And remember Nehemiah, he was not a priest, he was not a Levite. But he was the governor. As Governor of Judea, and he enforced the Sabbath,.

   But he had problems. Some business men were anxious to open shop immediately after the Sabbath. They came with their merchandise and lined up at the city gate   . What did Nehemiah do about this traffic jam? These merchants were lined up at the city gates. Today, it would be like 18 wheel trucks lining up at the city limits sign. Here is Nehemiah 13:20-21, listen;

 ANNOUNCER: (20) So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice.

(21) Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the Sabbath.

SPEAKER: Who threatened to arrest these merchants? A clergyman? Who forbid business and industry on the Sabbath? A clergyman? NO!, The governor. Governor Nehemiah. The Bible is about government. Moses was the president while Aaron the priest was head of the church. Moses wrote five books of your Bible.

   The next book of your Bible is Joshua. Joshua was the next governor after Moses. Then Israel was ruled by Judges. That is the title of the next book in your Bible. Judges. Your Bible contains four books titled Kings and Chronicles. These are the histories, not of churches, not of religious movements, but histories of the governments of the nation.

   The first eleven books of the Bible were either written by governors or they were about government. And who wrote Psalms and Proverbs? Not priests, not prophets, but the kings of Israel. King David wrote Psalms and King Solomon wrote Proverbs.

   Ezra and Nehemiah are two books of your Bible. Ezra and Nehemiah were both governors under the king. They were not priests, They were men in government. Yes, your Bible has says about government. After this message we will talk more about Government in the Bible.

ANNOUNCER: Shrinking pay checks. Loss of health insurance. High taxes. More taxes. . Disappearing pensions. Why does the most productive, most advanced nation that ever existed find itself with a national dept that seems unpayable? The people of Nehemiah five of your Bible had similar problems. The solutions that worked then will work now. Your Bible offers practical solutions to our national problems. You can have a part in turning things around. It's exciting. Call now - toll free- 1 800 (deleted).

MUSIC: Let freedom ring.

SPEAKER: Now, put your thinking caps on? And ask yourself these questions. Does the government enforce one of The Ten Commandments, the commandment, thou shalt not kill, by arresting murderers and drug peddlers?. Does the government enforce another of The Ten Commandments, Thou shalt not steal, by arresting shoplifters? And burglars?

   And does the government enforce still another of The Ten Commandments Thou shalt not commit adultery by arresting prostitutes. Does the government enforce the commandment, thou shalt not bear false witness by enforcing laws against forgery, perjury and libel?

   And, if government can enforce these commandments, Then can government also enforce the other commandments? Commandments such as, keep holy the Sabbath day?. The answer is Yes. It can, and it did in the past, and our Supreme court said so over 40 years ago, when it upheld the $5.00 fine for selling on Sunday, a three-ring loose-leaf note book binder, a can of floor wax, a stapler and staples, and a toy submarine. All in violation of Maryland Code.

    Why would the government want to enforce a Sabbath day? For the general welfare, to protect labor and prevent the exploitation of workers, to promote the family. To protect society from moral debasement. And to show to the world that a nation of free people do not have to work a seven days a week.

   And if the government can enforce one of The Ten Commandments then it can enforce all of The Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath day. That is the very purpose of government. A forgotten and neglected purpose. Our constitution says the government is to promote the general welfare. The Supreme Court called Sabbath day legislation, promoting the general welfare. More after this message.

ANNOUNCER: Something is terribly wrong here in America! Foreigners are buying up our business and industry; factories are being closed. Millions who had good jobs now struggle to make ends meet. Everything bad is on the increase - what's wrong? What's the explanation? What are the practical solutions?

   The explanation is in your Bible, but the Bible's forbidden in public schools - ridiculed in the media, and chased out of government.  Call now - toll free- 1 800 (deleted). 

MUSIC: Long May Our Land Be Bright. (Freedom's Holy Light - The Bible)

SPEAKER: In the Bible, God often gives us a choice between good and evil. A choice between a blessing and a cursing. This Sabbath day business. It is important to God. And it should be important to you. And it should be important to the men in the legislature. Here is what God said to his people in ancient Jerusalem. This is the bad news, this is one of the curses for national Sabbath day violation. It is found in Jeremiah 17, listen.

ANNOUNCER: (Jeremiah 17:21-27 KJV) (Jeremiah 17:19-20 KJV) (19) Thus said the Lord unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;

(20) And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the Lord, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates:

(21) Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;

(22) Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers....

(27) But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

SPEAKER: God told the people of old Jerusalem. No business on the Sabbath day. And if you refuse to listen, then I will burn your city to the ground. Now here is the good news. God says, take it easy on the Sabbath day and enjoy all these national blessings.

ANNOUNCER: (24) And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith thee Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work therein;

(25) Then shall there enter into the gates off this city kings and princess sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

SPEAKER: How about that? A nation that will obey this commandment will stand forever. The government will not be overthrown. What did the people do? And since Jeremiah delivered his message direct to the king, what did the men in government do? Did they choose the blessing, or did they choose the cursing? Listen;

ANNOUNCER: (23) But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction. 

SPEAKER: Old Jerusalem was destroyed. Let's learn from the past. We have a decision to make. America has a decision to make. To last for ever as a nation as the kingdom of heaven, or like rebellious old Jerusalem, to be burned to the ground. We have a long way to go to restore America to God's good graces.

   Let's start now. How? It's easy, by taking it easy this week end. Visit your parents. Visit your friends. Go for a picnic. Just take it easy. Free men don't have to work seven days a week. Now a final word from our king. These are the words of Jesus Christ as found in Matthew 11:28-30, listen:

ANNOUNCER: (28) Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

(29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

ANNOUNCER: This broadcast was prepared and sponsored by

Moses taught the Sabbath before the giving of the Ten Commandments. Pharaoh wanted the people to work a seven days a week. Moses wanted a day of rest.

Exodus 5:5. And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens.

שבת    
Strong's Number: 7673
Pronunciation: shabath shaw-bath'

Definition:
1) to cease, desist, rest
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to cease
1a2) to rest, desist (from labour)
1b) (Niphal) to cease
1c) (Hiphil)
1c1) to cause to cease, put an end to
1c2) to exterminate, destroy
1c3) to cause to desist from
1c4) to remove
1c5) to cause to fail
2) (Qal) to keep or observe the Sabbath

Additional Sabbath day info:

Total Onslaught #217 The Crime of All Ages

Rome's Challenge saying "Protestants follow Catholic Church".

Rome v. 7th Day Adventists (An 1893 Catholic document)

 

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