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Cutting Off Their Religious Liberty Case to Spite Those Prop 8 No’s

At the crossroads of Adventism and Catholicism, blogger Hugo Mendez gets right to the danger inside the Church State Council arguments.

Mendez writes: Oddly, many of the same arguments used by NARLA in that article [against Adventists Against Prop. 8] could easily be used to defend a national Sunday law framed in secular language. I have taken the liberty of making the necessary substitutions:

[Sunday rest] is not exclusively the domain of religion just as [its non-observance] is viewed from both religious and secular perspectives. The amendment does not reflect religious ideas such as sacrament, sacredness, divine origination, or the necessity of being subject to divine authority. On its face, the amendment does not violate the separation of church and state because it does not favor a “particular religious, theological conviction.” The fact that the amendment is generally supported by religious groups does not make it a religious amendment any more than those opposed to it, because there are also significant religious groups that support [the non-observance of Sunday].

As a matter of fact, there are religious reasons for many secular laws, but making secular laws does not mean the religious arguments are made law as well. Secular laws often comport with a wide variety of religious arguments without endorsing those arguments as such. [Sunday rest], as stated above, is not the exclusive domain of religion and [the non-observance of Sunday rest] is not exclusively secular either. Prop 8 is a social policy matter that has bearing on one of the most fundamental aspects of the American social order.

He adds: I am, of course, inspired by the Supreme Court decision which defended Sunday laws (McGowan v. Maryland):

In the light of the evolution of our Sunday Closing Laws through the centuries, and of their more or less recent emphasis upon secular considerations, it is concluded that, as presently written and administered, most of them, at least, are of a secular rather than of a religious character, and that presently they bear no relationship to establishment of religion, as those words are used in the Constitution of the United States.

The present purpose and effect of most of our Sunday Closing Laws is to provide a uniform day of rest for all citizens; and the fact that this day is Sunday, a day of particular significance for the dominant Christian sects, does not bar the State from achieving its secular goals.

After engaging in the close scrutiny demanded of it when First Amendment liberties are at issue, this Court accepts the determination of the State Supreme Court that the present purpose and effect of the statute here involved is not to aid religion but to set aside a day of rest and recreation.

“The similarity is a bit too striking.”

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