Partial Report of Hearing on Johnston Sunday Bill, S. 404



How Sunday Laws Have Treated Christian Men

MANY fail to see how Sunday laws can bring about a union of church and state, or result in persecution. Those who think that they will, have been told by members of Congress that they are “unnecessarily alarmed,” and “frightened at shadows.” RJSB 19.1

This doubtless reflects the views of many, both in and out of Congress. RJSB 19.2

Many years ago we predicted and published to the world that the movement in this country to unite church and state and enforce Sunday observance by law would, if successful, result in persecution and oppression to conscientious observers of the seventh day, The National Reformers, who were behind this movement, saw no danger in it, and assured us that no harm could come from Sunday laws and their enforcement. They said:— RJSB 19.3

From the beginning of the National Reform movement, they [Seventh-day Adventists] have regarded it as the first step toward the persecution which they, as observers of the seventh day, will endure when our Sabbath laws are revived and enforced. One can but smile at their apprehension of the success of a movement which would not harm a hair of their heads; but their fears were sincere enough, for all that.—Christian Statesman, March, 1874. RJSB 19.4

The events of only a few years later, however, amply demonstrated that our fears were not only sincere but well-grounded. In eleven years, from 1885 to 1896, under the revival and enforcement of Sunday laws which then took place, over one hundred conscientious, God-fearing Seventh-day Adventists in the United States, besides some thirty in foreign countries, were prosecuted for doing work on Sunday, resulting in fines and amounting to $2,269.69, and imprisonments totaling 1,438 days, and 455 days served in the chain-gang. RJSB 19.5

Since this many similar persecutions have taken place under the Sunday laws of this and foreign countries. RJSB 20.1

In the face of these facts we think we have something more than “shadows” to be frightened at, and grounds for disbelieving the assurance of those who tell us that the success of the Sunday-law movement will not harm “a hair of our heads.” Prosecutions, fines. imprisonments, and chain-gangs can hardly be called “shadows.” RJSB 20.2

We know the spirit that is behind this movement, and that will he manifested as the movement develops. Its professions are lamb-like, mild, and apparently Christian, but when it speaks, it will reveal the spirit that has characterized all religious persecutions. (See Revelation 13:11-18.) RJSB 20.3

If the men in Congress now having to do with these measures knew in what they were finally do result, they would doubtless let them alone. RJSB 20.4

Eighty years ago Congress saw some of the evils involved in Sunday legislation. The famous “Sunday Mail Reports” adopted by Congress in 1829 to 1830, sounded a clear note of warning. RJSB 20.5

The sound logic and the unanswerable arguments against Sunday legislation set forth in these reports are no less potent nor pertinent now than they were then. RJSB 20.6

The evils resulting from such legislation are not alone confined to the wrong that may be done the oppressed. The oppressor wrongs himself. President Fairchild has well said: “Injustice and oppression are not made tolerable by being in strict accordance with the law. Nothing is surer, in the end, than the reaction of such wrong to break down the most perfectly constituted government.” RJSB 20.7

Sunday legislation can result only in evil. RJSB 20.8


Cor. Secretary Religious Liberty Association. RJSB 20.9