THE trouble with workingmen in reference to Sunday work is not that they do not have the right to rest, but that they do not use the right. If they have the right and do not use it, the blame for their failure to enjoy the right falls on themselves. Where no right is invaded, no law to preserve rights is needed. There can be no just ground for Sunday laws while Sunday work remains a voluntary act.
Of course, many people are working on Sunday who would much prefer to rest on that day. But mere preferences do not constitute good ground for a law. The law can recognize rights, and distinguish between justice and injustice; but it cannot accommodate itself to people’s preferences. Preferences are not rights. A right represents justice; a preference often represents only mental or moral weakness. A preference not to work may represent only business. In the matter of Sunday labor it represents in some cases—perhaps in many—a conviction that Sunday work is morally wrong. But the law cannot undertake to carry out people’s conviction of right. Convictions are for the convicted person to carry out himself. The person who believes he ought to rest on Sunday in obedience to the will of God, should not require any further reason than the will of God for observing that day. God has spoken plainly on the subject of Sabbath observance; and to disobey God until the state speaks on the subject, is to set the state above God. For one who does this to plead conscientious convictions against Sunday labor, is not very consistent, to say the least.
THE right of one person to rest on Sunday does not demand for its preservation the loss of another person’s equal right to labor on that day. Every person is free to rest on Sunday, and there is no invasion of rights until there is introduced the compulsion of the law. It is compulsion that interferes with personal liberty, and the right denied is not the right of rest but the right of labor. This is a sacred right, and only tyranny will interfere with its enjoyment.