IT is claimed by the supporters of Sunday laws that they do not interfere with the right of Adventists and other Sabbath-keepers to observe the seventh day, but that they (the Sabbatarians) are left entirely free to “keep their Sabbath.” That this claim is false has been frequently demonstrated. About three years ago an Adventist in Kent County, Md., was summoned to attend court as a witness on the Sabbath. He refused to attend, and was arrested on a bench warrant and taken into court. He thereupon stated to the judge that he could not conscientiously testify on that day, as it was the Sabbath according to the fourth commandment. His honor informed him that the law of Maryland recognized but one day as the Sabbath, and that day was Sunday, and that he must testify or go to jail. He again refused to testify and was sent to jail.
A similar case occurred last November in Anne Arandel County., Md., when two Seventh-day Adventists were fined for contempt of court in refusing to attend as witnesses on the Sabbath. If our courts were to begin to sit on Sunday, would not every Sunday-keeper feel at once that his religious liberty was infringed? Certainty, for it would make every man who has any religious regard for Sunday liable to be required by the State either to violate his conscience or to subject himself to punishment for contempt of court.
Again, the law of Georgia forbids work on Sunday. The Seventh-day Adventist works and is arrested and taken into court. The judge says to him: “You are at perfect liberty to observe the seventh day if you wish, but you must keep Sunday also. For your refusal to do this I sentence you to twelve months in the chain-gang.” The chain-gang works on the seventh day, and so far as the law of the State of Georgia is concerned, the Seventh-day Adventist can be required to work on that day, and in case of persistent refusal may be punished with death.
What, then, has become of the “perfect liberty” of the Sabbatarian to keep the seventh day? It has vanished into thin air: in fact, it never existed in any State having a Sunday law, except in the imaginations of Sunday-keepers.