Religion Unplugged

Not just nostalgia: Some pandemic-weary souls want to make Sunday a day of rest once again

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged

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In a hit song two decades ago, country music group Rascal Flatts offered banjo-tinged commentary on “the world spinning faster than it did in the old days.”

“Sunday was a day of rest,” the group proclaimed in its ode to a bygone era. “Now, it’s one more day for progress.”

Some of us are old enough to remember when most businesses — not just Chick-fil-A — closed on Sundays.

It seems quaint now, but I did an Associated Press story in 2003 on Family Christian Stores — then the nation’s largest Christian retail chain — deciding to open on Sundays.

But in 2016, I was surprised during a reporting trip to North Dakota when I found an empty parking lot at a Bismarck Walmart — and then at Super Target — while looking to buy a few snacks and supplies before Sunday morning church.

I learned that for more than a century, the state had required most retailers to close from midnight to noon on Sundays. North Dakota finally became the last state to lift that ban in 2019.

I bring up this subject not just for nostalgia but because the day of rest — or the lack of it — is drawing renewed consideration nationally.

Read the full column.

This column appears in the online magazine Religion Unplugged.

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