THE preamble of the Bill for the proposed Sunday law in California, says that “Whereas ‘Christianity is the common law of the land’; and as the people of the State generally regard the Christian Sabbath, or the first day of the week, as sacred to religious worship; and because the best interests of the State are conserved by Christian morality, which is inseparably connected with the proper observance of the Sabbath,” etc.
This contains several assumptions. It assumes, first, that “Christianity is the common law of the land.” This is nothing more than tradition. It states almost the lowest possible conception of Christianity, and this in itself stamps it as utterly untrue. Christianity is as far above the “common law” or any human law, as heaven is above the earth. Christianity is “the power of God unto salvation” to the believer on Jesus Christ. This is what God himself says of it (Romans 1:16), and therefore it is the absolute truth. But the power of God unto salvation is not in human law.
The “common law” is enforced by civil pains and penalties; and if Christianity is a part of it, Christianity must be enforced upon the people by the same means. This conception of Christianity therefore demands an enforced religion, which is contrary to every principle of free government. It is therefore both unchristian and un-American.
Assumption number two in this preamble is that the “Christian Sabbath” is “the first day of the week.” This likewise is pure tradition. The highest and only Authority on the subject declares that the seventh—not the first—day is the Sabbath; and in all the Scripture there is not a word of authority for the sanctity of Sunday. If God’s Word is true, it is true that the seventh day is—and therefore that the first day is not—the Christian Sabbath.
There is yet another assumption crowded into this short preamble; namely, that “the best interests of the State are conserved” by an enforced observance of the Sabbath. It is true that “the best interests of the State are conserved by Christian morality,” and that this “is inseparably connected with the proper observance of the Sabbath”; but this is cited as an argument for a Sunday law, and must therefore refer to Sabbath observance as secured by Sunday enforcement. Sabbath enforcement is not Christian morality at all, for Christianity represents no force but the power of love. Only heart religion can be a conserver of the best interests of the State; and in this religion, Sabbath observance, like every other practice, is of faith, and not of force. Enforced religion is not of faith, is contrary to it, and is against every interest of the State, as all history unmistakably shows. This third assumption is as false as either of the others.
And these assumptions are the basis of the proposed Sunday law. The language of the Bill is that “Whereas,” these things (which it cites) are so, “The people of the State of California, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact,” etc. Since, or because, these things are so, this proposed Sunday law should be enacted; that is what the Bill declares. But the things referred to are not so; and since they are not so, it is evident by the logic of the Bill itself that the Sunday law ought not to be enacted.
Assumptions of things which are not true can afford no foundation for an enactment of the people. No proper law can exist on such a basis. And this basis—this assumption of what has no existence—is the basis of every Sunday law in the land.