Keeping Sunday Special: Why Society Still Needs One Day Free from Work

The immensely erudite Jerome has published this piece defending Sunday observance on his website, And Sometimes He’s So Nameless: His argument is that, even in this secular age people need one day a week which they can spend with their families. As you can expect from Jerome, he’s done his research thoroughly, and cites the statistics to support his argument. He also cites the employment legislation that says that Christians and others may not be forced to work on Sunday. This is now being comprehensively ignored, as Sunday becomes yet another day of the week when people are expected to work. Like me, Jerome is old enough to remember when Sundays were effectively dead days. They were incredibly dull, with little on television except religious programmes and classic adaptations of Dickens and the other great Victorian novelists. There were some game shows, such as The Golden Shot, and usually at least a couple of comedy programmes – I remember such classics as The Rag Trade, Only When I laugh, and George and Mildred, and later comedies, such as Ever Decreasing Circles and Oh, Happy Band!. This last was another product from Perry and Croft, the writing team that brought us Dad’s Army and ‘Allo, ‘Allo. It was also the day when the TV companies ran the western, Alias Smith and Jones, and The Holiday Programme with Cliff Mitchelmore. But mostly I remember it just being very dull. However, as Jerome points out, it was nearly the only day of the week when the whole family could be together, and as a result, family life was strengthened. People need one day a week off. The early Christian theologian, Origen, considered the Sabbath one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity, and noted that even some pagan Romans were copying Christians and taking a day off to rest. I am certainly not arguing for a return to the very dour Sabbatarianism Compton Mackenzie gently lampoons in the great British comedy, Whiskey Galore! You should be able to have fun on the day at rest, which even the 17th century theologians recognised when they debated the topic. My point is that people do still need one day a week to rest from work, and to spend with their families.

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