Lifelong Learning – GERMANY’S SUNDAY LAW

Here are the facts as far as we can ascertain them thanks to the research of Pastor Ole Olesen in Eastern Oregon. Here are his thoughts:

This report on the high court of Germany passing a Sunday Law is somewhat misleading. The Bible undeniably predicts coercive religious laws by the “beastly” powers of Revelation 13, and the appeal of this e-mail to live out life in anticipation of these events is not an improper appeal. We always need reminding that life is fragile and that we need to rely on God.

However, what needs to be added is that this appears to NOT be a new law in Germany. Rather, it is the overturning of a recent, 2006 law in Berlin. Only Berlin is affected by the law. And even then, instead of being something new, it appears to bring Berlin back into the long term federal government’s law.

My source is one I don’t often reference: TheTrumpet.com, one of the successors to the Worldwide Church of God (i.e., Herbert W. Armstrong).

“Since the war, Berlin had enacted its own legislation allowing 10 shopping Sundays per year. That local ruling is now quashed. Effective January 1, 2010, Berlin must fall into line with the law institionalizing Sunday as a day of rest and religious contemplation as contained in Germany’s Basic Law.

“The actual establishing Sunday as Germany’s weekly day of worship is enshrined in an appendix to the Basic Law under the heading, ‘Extracts from the German Constitution of August 11, 1919 (Weimar Constitution).’ There we find, under the subhead ‘Religion and Religious Societies,’ Article 139, which reads: ‘Sunday and holidays recognized by the state shall remain protected by law as days of rest from work and of spiritual improvement.'”

Why do I point this out? Because to broadcast by e-mail or from the pulpit (as one source suggested) that “Well, Germany now has a Sunday law! Prophecy before our eyes is being fulfilled” is a misrepresentation of the facts. Germany has had this law since 1919 (and probably before that under the Kaiser). That’s 90 years and two world wars!

The ruling is significant NOT because it brings a Sunday law to Germany, but because it disallows any German “state’s right” (Berlin is its own city state) to have a different set of Sunday laws.

An AFP (Paris, France) report also noted this aspect not mentioned in the e-mail: “[With this ruling] German shops are [still] authorized to open four Sundays per year, with each of the country’s 16 states or Laender allowed to select its own dates.

“But in 2006 the city-state of Berlin had obtained the right to allow store openings 10 Sundays per year, including the four Advent Sundays leading up to Christmas on December 25, a particularly festive period in the country.”

The “BIG” Sunday Law change that has come to Germany is that Berlin shop owners have lost six (6) Sundays on which to stay open.

I do believe it is a very powerful opportunity to compare the motivations for Sunday laws among Germans with similar motivations spelled out in former Pope John Paul’s encyclical Dies Domine (“The Day of the Lord”), which references the need for Labor Union workers to be able to have the benefit of having Sundays off in order to attend Church. It seems highly likely that Sunday laws will always share these “reasons” for their enactment and enforcement, which were testified to by the strong backing of Catholics and Protestants in Germany for this law.

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