Sunday, January 30, 2011

God Bless The Weekend: Saving our Endangered Days Off Together

Those who wish to pretend that Christianity is not the root of all that is best in Western culture, or that America was not founded and formed as a Christian nation forget, or have not understood, that the Holy Sabbath mandated in the 10 Commandments is the only reason workers in the Western world have a day off every week - and workers in countries that never adopted Christianity as a majority faith still cannot expect to be given one day off to have for their own.

For thousands of years in Jewish and Christian societies, everyone - even the poorest, even indentured servants and slaves (before the Christian world - and no other - freed all slaves and set the precedent the rest of the world has not yet caught up with) - even in those times, everyone was entitled to a day off every week.

For centuries, American States had "Blue Laws" that prohibited the sale of certain non-essential merchandise on Sundays. These laws protected businesses from the need to compete for Sunday business, and were thus welcomed by merchants as well as their employees.

The concept of taking Saturday and Sunday together in the weekend as we know it arose in America in various locations where Christians and Jews united to respect both Sabbath and Shabbat. As Jewish immigration increased and the Industrial Revolution led to greater demand for constant labor, America's devout Jewish population needed the same protection for their religious observance. In the tumultuous early days of the 20th century, Jewish leaders joined with labor unions to promote the five-day work week - and the standard weekend - as a uniform practice across industry.

Consistent two-day weekends enabled people of all major American faiths (and those of other religions, and non-believers) to share this time off: Jews as well as Christians, Seventh Day Adventists as well as Baptists, Catholics as well as Mormons. All Americans could perchance meet each other through shared leisure time, and common endeavors for their free hours.

By assuring that the day off was the same for everyone and every class of people, a common culture promoted community, neighborliness, family life and time to rest, relax and enjoy life together.

The American Weekend is endangered: another unnoticed consequence of the persistent drive to de-Christianize the USA.
33 out of every 100 Americans has to work on Saturday or Sunday or both (according to a 2004 study on the detrimental effects of non-traditional work schedules). Those people, and their families, may "not mind" the schedule, but they lose out on the shared family and community leisure time and activities that are much of the joy in life.

If you have ever worked different shifts from that your spouse or friends work, or had to have different days off than the rest of the world, you know how much you miss out on. Not having Saturdays and Sundays off, or at least one of the weekend days, isolates us from everyone we care about.

In today's "not an employee" employment climate, where 40 hour work weeks and paid holidays or paid vacation are more rare than ever before, fewer and fewer can afford to take a day off without pay to make a short trip with their family, camp out overnight, or go to a wedding, or spend the day in the park playing volleyball.

So if you love your weekends, if you are "working for the weekend", and want to keep having Saturday and Sunday to spend with the people you love best, thank the Christian way of life, and thank your company for continuing to adhere to the traditional weekend.

You don't have to be a believer to save the weekend by supporting those businesses who close on Sundays, like McCoy's Building Supply Centers, Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby, and those local businesses in your own town.

If you know of businesses that close on Sundays, feel free to post in the comments.

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