Sunday law

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Sunday laws (also known as blue laws) are a form of civilly enforced decree which usually restrict activities on the first day of the week, Sunday. Such laws traditionally were established for the accommodation of sun worship, which became "Christianized" during the fourth century when the Church of Rome fell under pagan influence and replaced Sabbath observance with Sunday observance.[1]

Fourth century: antipathy towards the Sabbath

In the first Sunday law enacted, Emperor Constantine dictated:[1]

On the venerable Day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits: because it often happens that another Day is not so suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting: lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.

—Constantine I, 321 A.D.

Some contemporary professed Christians defend Constantine's decree by arguing that Sunday observance was already a norm, and therefore it was solidifying a biblical tradition. Notwithstanding the fact that these claims have been refuted (mostly by Seventh-day Adventists), Constantine's declaration notably described the first day of the week as "venerable Day of the sun," indicating a pagan glorification.

The Council of Laodicea declared:[1]

Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday (Sabbath), but shall work on that Day: but the Lord’s Day, they shall especially honour; and as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.

—Council of Laodicea, Canon XXIX, 364 A.D.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Veith, Walter J. (April 24, 2010). Constantine and the Sabbath Change. Amazing Discoveries. Retrieved January 22, 2023.