THE Mail and Express, in commenting upon the political situation in New York says:—
The sabbath, as an American institution, is imbedded in Federal and State constitutions and laws. Our national Constitution has only two references to religion, one which specifically says that Sunday is not to be counted as a legislative day, and the other which declares that “no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Mr. Warner Miller, the author of the Sunday plank in the Republican platform of this State, also says, as reported in the New York World, that “the Constitution clearly recognizes the sabbath,” since “on that day no measure may become a law, no business be legally transacted, and no one elected to office may take oath on that day.”
But this, as the World points out, is not a recognition of Sunday as the “Christian sabbath,” but as a legal holiday merely. There are other legal holidays beside Sunday—the first day of January, the thirteenth day of May, the fourth of July, the first Monday in September, the last Thursday in November, and the twenty-fifth day of December—on all of which cessation from business has legal sanction.
In its effort to find “the sabbath as an American institution,” in the Constitution, the Mail and Express overlooks that plainest of all references to religion in the Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Perhaps there was a reason for passing this by, for this is certainly very far from being a recognition of the “American sabbath.”
Of course, if the sabbath is “an American institution,” it might be expected to have recognition and sanction in American laws, even that supreme law, the Constitution. But a sabbath which is an American institution cannot be God’s sabbath, which he commands to be kept holy, for that was instituted by him at creation. Neither can it be the Sunday sabbath, for that is observed in all civilized countries, and was instituted in remote ages of antiquity. The simple truth is, that the Sabbath and American institutions are things wholly separate and distinct from each other.
Our forefathers who framed the Constitution evidently did not regard the Sabbath as American in its origin; and it is certainly not strange that under their wise direction neither it nor any other religious institution found recognition in that embodiment of our fundamental law.