Sunday is a quiet business day in the Polynesian country of Tonga. Over a third of the nation belongs to the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, the established religion of the state.
On any given Sunday, most island residents are in church and almost all commercial and entertainment activities stop from midnight to midnight.
“Sunday in Tonga is celebrated as a strict sabbath, enshrined so in the constitution, and despite some voices to the opposite, the Sunday ban is not likely to be abolished soon. No trade is allowed on Sunday, except essential services, after special approval by the minister of police. Those that break the law risk a fine or imprisonment.”
There are a few exceptions, such as the bakery industry. After a devastating cyclone struck the islands in the 1980s, an emergency law was enacted to allow them to conduct business and provide much needed food. However, in May 2016, some church groups lobbied the government to close these shops on Sundays beginning July 3, 2016.
Is it in harmony with the Bible for governments to enact Sunday worship laws—or any worship laws for that matter? Isn’t this a violation of religious freedom and the fundamental right of every human being to freely choose how one will worship? While people do need a day of rest and worship, many believe Sunday should not be a designated religious day.
In the Bible, the biblical Sabbath is on the seventh day (Saturday) and was established at creation (Genesis 2:1–3). To remember the Sabbath day is part of God’s moral law for all humanity (Exodus 20:8–11). There is no Bible mandate for this day to be changed to Sunday. History reveals that Emperor Constantine, in an effort to harmonize his supposed Christian faith with pagan sun worshipers in his realm, established the first Sunday law
in AD 321.
Though governments and churches have tried many times to change God’s law and force people to worship on human devised days, we can be sure the true Sabbath will stand for eternity (see Isaiah 66:23).
What do you think? Should governments enact religious laws regarding worship? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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Saint Lucia Prime Minister Criticized
. Doctor Kenny Anthony has been accused of attacking religious freedom when he changed the date to Saturday for nominations for candidates to the next election. A large number of Sabbath keepers live in Saint Lucia.