“The Question of Disturbance” American Sentinel 13, 12, pp. 177, 178.

IT is provided in nearly every Sunday law upon the statute books of the States, that any work that is to be permitted on Sunday must not be to the “disturbance” of other people. This provision is a hollow sham.

It is not lawful to disturb people—in any proper sense of the word—on any day of the week. It is no more lawful to disturb people on Monday than it is on Sunday.

Unless a different and extraordinary kind of disturbance is meant by this provision of the Sunday laws, therefore, there is no possible reason for making it. But why should some extraordinary meaning be put upon the word “disturbance” for Sunday only?

Whatever disturbs the mid-week prayer-meeting, or the devotions of any person on ordinary days of the week is a disturbance in the proper sense, and is prohibited by law, irrespective of Sunday statutes. And whatever does not disturb people on such occasions, cannot properly be considered a disturbance on the first day of the week.

But some people are very much “disturbed” by the mere knowledge that other persons are at work on their day of rest, thus indicating that they dissent from their views as regards the sanctity of the day. They want [178] their feelings protected from disturbance no less than their devotions. But truth—and religious truth especially—has always had to make its way in this world by disturbing somebody’s feelings. And no person’s feelings have been more disturbed than those of the people who were in error.

All such “disturbance” is for the good of mankind. It is especially for the good of those resting in error, if they will but have the meekness to profit by it.

Let ideas jostle one against another without restraint in the wide arena of religious controversy. Truth must always be the gainer by it, and error the loser.

People who claim the right to work on the first day of the week do not claim any right to disturb people and have no wish to disturb them. Religious assemblies are amply protected by law upon all days of the week, and there is no occasion for giving them or any individuals special “protection” on Sunday.

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