A day of rest

Published 11:25 pm Saturday, May 2, 2015



Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. But a day of rest in this day and age isn’t truly a day of rest. Rather, Sundays have generally become the day reserved for getting everything done that’s been left undone during the week. Work, school, increasingly busy schedules, all can lead to a Sunday chore list a mile long.

After church, and Sunday dinner, Sunday calls for yard work and homework. For many, it’s a day for laundry and house cleaning; a time to change the oil in the car, or get cracking on that home improvement project. Even the tradition of Sunday dinner, eaten out at local restaurants, requires many folks working in the food industry to work on Sundays.

For many Beaufort County residents, Sunday is not, and cannot, be a day of rest — especially for those who work six days a week, perhaps holding down two jobs, in order to provide for their families. Those who have the luxury of not have a list of chores awaiting, may reserve their day of rest for fishing, for watching NASCAR, baseball and football, when the season rolls around again.

Though decreed in the Bible, very few people observe the Sabbath as a true day of rest, and it’s been that way for a long time. It’s interesting, though, that the creators of a resolution to keep the wholesale ban on Sunday hunting with firearms would use the observance of the Sabbath as the foundation for their argument.

North Carolinians can’t hunt with firearms on Sundays because they should value “the Ten Commandments and the specific commandment to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, or set apart,” the resolution reads. Sunday “is a day of rest and a religious ‘holy’ day,” it goes on to say. Yet hunters can hunt with a crossbow on Sundays. No one frowns at fishing on Sundays, which is merely a more laid-back form of hunting. The main reasoning behind the resolution is faulty, if other types of hunting are allowable.

Perhaps the unwillingness by some counties to lift the ban on Sunday hunting with firearms has to do with noise, instead. No congregation wants its sermon interrupted by gunshot. That’s likely across-the-board true. But the interesting thing is that anyone can set up a target and practice target-shooting all day, every Sunday. It’s not against the law. Skeet shooting on Sundays isn’t against the law. But Sunday hunting with firearms is against the law.

It doesn’t make much sense not to allow Sunday hunting with firearms, when all these other things are allowable. It doesn’t make sense to not open up Sunday to those six-day-a-week workers who’d like to take their children hunting too.

H.B. 640, the “Outdoor Heritage Act” passed the N.C. House this week and has now moved on to the Senate. The bill lifts the ban on the Sunday hunting with firearms, but only on private lands, and with limitations: no running dogs on Sundays, no hunting migratory waterfowl on Sundays, no hunting within 500 yards of a place of worship.

Individual counties are given the choice to opt out of Sunday hunting — that’s a good thing. But in a strange move by House, somewhere between the House’s first reading of the bill on April 14 and the vote on April 28, section 5(c) was changed to say that individual counties can opt out of Sunday hunting but not until Oct. 1, 2017. If passed by the Senate, the law would go into effect on Oct. 1, 2015.

Legislators are essentially saying, “You can opt out, but we’re going to make you live with it for two years first.”

Now that really doesn’t make sense.