Forcing Sunday Worship

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Forcing Sunday Worship

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.

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