The North Carolina House recently voted to repeal a 145 year-old “blue law” that bans some kinds of hunting on private property. If the NC Senate passes the bill as well and it passes into law, the Old North State will join 41 other states where citizens may hunt with firearms on any day of the week that they desire.
Archery hunting and falconry on private lands are both already legal activities in North Carolina on any day of the week.
Rev. Mark Creech,the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina (CAL), has come out against the legislation in a wistful opinion piece in the Raleigh News & Observer, stating:
…One can argue endlessly the particulars of Sunday observance, whether one can worship in the forest as well as the sanctuary or whether the real Sabbath is Saturday or Sunday. History shows the early church applied the Fourth Commandment, “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy,” to the first day of the week, Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead and completed the work of man’s redemption and secured the sure hope of our eternal rest.
In places where Christianity has spread, this practice has been adopted in large degree not simply by the church but by the culture. Traditionally, Sunday has been reserved as a day for worship, family and rest for man and animal – a cessation from the normal routine to focus on nobler aspirations. Societies founded on Christian principles have even recognized the value of sanctifying the day with various laws – laws that lend to keeping the cares of life and our pursuits for pleasure and profit from overcoming our natural proclivities to neglect the necessity of character-building, of exchanging the greater for the lesser, the temporal for the eternal.
During debate on Sunday hunting, one lawmaker called it “a common sense bill,” arguing that hunting was really no different from the other distractions already taking place on Sunday. No one can deny his point. Yet I suggest that’s all the more reason not to keep adding to the list…
Rev. Creech concludes:
…As innocuous as the Sunday hunting bill may seem, it barters away something primary for something secondary – something that will benefit a few at the expense of something that functions to the benefit of everyone. Legal Sunday hunting is but one more thing to undermine, frustrate and compete with the irreplaceable work of our churches.
Lawmakers certainly understand the necessity of legislation that creates a friendly business environment, but churches also need government to consider whether its actions are friendly to the ministries of houses of worship. Each time we weaken the significance of the “Lord’s Day,” we create a chasm that cannot be bridged.
I personally belong to one of the 17 denominations represented by the CAL. I understand Rev Creech’s concerns that a society without a firm moral base is moraleasily undermined and thwarted to the detriment of all, and that churches have played a key role in shaping and defining our culture.
What I’m failing to find is any solid argument for keeping the existing ban on some Sunday hunting on private property in place, simply because that is the way it has been for over a century.
Perhaps I’m simply not understanding why allowing Sunday hunting with firearms is going to to cause a Christian to lessen his or her faith, to decrease his or her charitable works, or for that matter, even affect church attendance.
Indeed, in 2014 Gallup poll which shows the top ten states with the highest weekly church attendance, only North Carolina presently bans Sunday hunting on private lands. Rev. Creech’s suggestion that this archaic law is somehow hurting the faith community does not seem to hold up to scrutiny.
Even more relevant is the fact that hunting is the only recreational activity banned in North Carolina on Sundays.
Rev. Creech seems to want to hold onto that ban as a last vestige of a bygone era, without being able to clearly articulate why such a ban should be kept in place.
I, too mourn the loss of civility in society, deplore the crassness of many aspects of popular culture, and fail to live up to the ideas of my faith in more ways than I care to admit.
I don’t see how a ban on being in God’s nature, drawing inspiration from his works and wonders, and partaking of his bounty, hurts my faith or the work of the faith community in any way, shape, or form.
Hopefully, the North Carolina Senate will see this as well, and remove a ban that lacks both purpose and reason.