Would an official Sunday “day of rest” alienate believers who observe a different day of worship?
The European Sunday Alliance — a network of 65 civil society organizations, trade unions and Churches— recently made a pitch for “work free Sundays” to the European Union’s Economic and Social Committee in Brussels. The newly formed Alliance argued that a common day of rest would result in healthier families, a more cohesive society, and a more balance lifestyle for everyone. Does this call for an official day of rest marginalize the millions of European Muslims, Jews, and Seventh-day Adventists who observe a day other than Sunday as their day of worship?
The proposal of the European Sunday Alliance presents several problems - instead of recognizing liberty of conscience in these issues, it would rely on the majority opinion that Sunday is the appropriate day of rest to shut down Sunday commerce and in the process would ignore and marginalize the rights of those who observe a different day.
Most people would enthusiastically agree that a weekly day of rest is important to a healthy and balanced lifestyle. However, a designated day of rest is intrinsically tied to religion, both historically and presently. This raises significant concerns when the state chooses to legislate a specific rest day.