Germany Upholds Sunday Closing Laws · December 09, 2009
On December 1, 2009, the same day that the Lisbon Treaty/EU Constitution went into force, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, the highest court in Germany “ruled that Sunday should be kept as a day of rest and has overturned a 2006 Berlin law easing restrictions on Sunday shopping.” Hailed as a victory for the Catholic and Lutheran Churches, the ruling takes effect January 1, 2010. Berlin must align its Sunday laws with the constitutional law institutionalizing Sunday as a day of rest and religious improvement.
Since 1919 Germany has had Sunday rest enshrined in its basic law as a day of rest and “spiritual elevation.” “Yet many of Germany’s 16 states have already made some exceptions, allowing stores to open a few Sundays a year…” But “in 2006 the German capital gave the green light for retailers to open on 10 Sundays a year, including the four Advent Sundays preceding Christmas.
“However, Germany’s Constitutional Court has now upheld a complaint made by the country’s Catholic and Protestant [or Lutheran] churches,” wrote SpiegelOnline, “based on a clause in the German constitution that Sunday should be a day of rest and ‘spiritual elevation.’
“The court on Tuesday decided in favor of the churches, saying that Sunday opening should not take place four weeks in a row. The ruling will not affect shopping this December, but would come into force next year. However, the ruling did not overturn completely the principle of limited Sunday store opening.
“The Protestant Bishop of Berlin, Markus Droege, characterized the weekly day of rest as a ‘cultural and social achievement,’” said The Christian Telegraph. ‘Katrin Goering-Eckardt, President of the Protestant Church’s General Synod, also welcomed the court decision. She described the day of rest as a ‘Christian gift to society as a whole.’’ Alois Glueck, President of the Central Committee of German Catholics, welcomed the fact that the Constitutional Court has called a halt to a ‘total commercialization of life as a whole.’ Great cultures have days of rest, stated the veteran politician of the Bavarian Christian Social Union.”
“The labor unions had joined the churches in their campaign to ring-fence Sunday as a day off for the nation. However, their focus was not on protecting the right to practice religion, but rather on protecting workers in the retail sector from having to work on Sundays, sometimes the only day they might get to spend with other members of their family.”
Please note that Sunday closing laws are the issue, though they overlap with Sunday Rest laws, and eventually with Sunday worship laws. Nevertheless, the court ruled against the liberalized law in Berlin because of spiritual reasons and sided with the churches. “‘Legal protection measures must recognize Sundays and public holidays as days of rest from work,’ said Hans-Juergen Papier, president of the Constitutional Court. “
Furthermore, the recent papal encyclical on the economy specifically called upon the trade unions to help society respect workers rights. Now the trade unions join the church once again, as they did in the papal attempt to include Sunday rest laws in the EU’s working time directive last year, to push worker’s rights as a reason to enforce Sunday closing laws.
“The trades unions will be one of the agencies that will bring upon this earth a time of trouble such as has not been since the world began.—Letter 200, 1903.” Country Living, page 10.
Many arguments were given in support of the courts decision in the newspapers. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote:
“The great diversity of working lives brings with it the fact that members of a single family are forced into different and sometimes incompatible working hours. If the state does not use some of its regulatory power to give a dependable rhythm to at least one free day — and that is still Sunday — then the family faces the threat of being pulled further apart. If they have no time with each other and for each other, then the formal notion of belonging together loses value… The fact that in the face of growing commercialization and fewer jobs hardly any employee ever dares to ask for a free Saturday, led the labor unions to join the churches in their campaign — with noticeable success.”
Die Welt wrote:
“The churches have argued correctly that employees in the retail sector are not given the possibility of organizing their Advent Sundays according to Christian principles: going to church, being involved in the community, singing and reading aloud. It is part of religious freedom to be able to do these things.”
“The judges did not just endorse the division of time marked by Christianity, but also the necessity for this division. There is no ambiguity about this weekly rhythm… It is good to have free time together, it helps us to live as the social beings that we are.”
Notice that this argument is a religious argument in favor of Sunday closing laws. Note also that Die Welt acknowledges that the churches are right in their argument and that before the court they argued the time established by the Roman Catholic Church, and followed by most other churches as the religious day of rest.
Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote:
“…The ruling is humane. It is an act in favor of the public spirit. … Those who regularly go shopping on Sundays today will have to work regularly on Sundays tomorrow. It may sound old fashioned but it is still correct: Sunday is Sunday because it is unlike other days… Sunday is more than just a day off for individuals. It that were so, then it wouldn’t matter if someone took a day off on Tuesday or Thursday. It is a day to synchronize society, that is what makes it so important. Without Sunday, every day would be a working day and a fixed point in the week would disappear. Of course there can be exceptions, there have always been particular professions who work on Sundays. But when the exception becomes the rule, then the commercialization of Sundays will not end at the department stores.”
“The court has given everyone the right to a day off on Sundays. You don’t have to take it. Everyone can do what they like with it. But it is good to have it.”
Actually, you can’t do whatever you like to do in Germany. For instance, you can’t go shopping. Note the argument that Sunday synchronizes society. That is actually a very good argument, but not for Sunday. That is exactly what the Sabbath of the Lord is supposed to do. But by transferring the day to Sunday since the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the Roman Catholic Church as changed the law of God and put a human law in its place. No matter how venerated, no matter how noble the arguments may sound, no matter how hoary with age, Rome’s Sunday rest is still a human replacement for the law of God. Most arguments in favor of Sunday closing, or Sunday rest, and probably Sunday worship, when they are promoted, are arguments that should be used to support the Sabbath, except for those that would enforce a day of rest and worship. After all, God does allow each individual freedom of choice. But Rome tries to force her will on societies and individual’s regardless of their free choice.
The Financial Times Deutschland wrote:
“The ruling by the Constitutional Court has revived the emotional debate about opening hours of shops on Sundays. That alone is annoying. But even more annoying is that with its strong emphasis on the religiously based day of rest on Sunday, it is in interfering in individual and economic freedom.”
The Financial Times Deutschland has it right on this point, particularly when you consider what Rome ultimately wants to accomplish. She can never enforce a Sunday worship law, unless she first enforces a Sunday closing law, and a Sunday rest law, all of which abrogate religious liberty.
“Without a doubt the freedom to practise religion is of great value,” continued the Financial Times, “However, in an increasingly secular society with more and more individualized rhythms of living, it seems an anachronism for the country’s highest court to use retail of all things to save the day of rest.”
Die Tageszeitung, a Berlin paper, wrote:
“Sunday as a day off is a great gift. The treadmill is closed for 24 hours. The court has given relaxation, rest and ‘spiritual elevation’ precedence over the thirst for profit and the right to a consumer fix.
Note that the court gave precedence to the religious element in its ruling over the freedom to do other non-religious things. This is an argument that will arise again.
Please keep in mind that it is the churches in Germany, both Catholic and Protestant that complained in court that constitutional and specifically religious Sunday laws were being violated. It should not go unnoticed by students of prophecy what Rome’s real agenda is in any country where she gains power. In countries that already have Sunday closing laws, Rome presses to enforce them. In countries where there are no constitutional Sunday laws, like in the United States, she will have more work to do. But her agenda is clear. Germany does not have separation of church and state. In other words, there is only a certain level of toleration for those that do not agree with those laws. One day that toleration could become less so.
Germany is the largest and most populous state of the EU and has a lot of influence on the direction that the EU travels. It could be said that “as Germany goes, so goes the EU.” Rome’s agenda is to resurrect the old Holy Roman Empire. This includes her religion. This step by the German high court should be seen as one step further toward meeting that goal. Now that the EU superstate is in place, and now that it has its constitution, we will see more of Rome, the protestant churches and the trade unions working together to press to increase the Sunday laws in the European Union. December 1, 2009 was a very important day for the Roman Catholic Church and for students of Bible prophecy. The deadly wound is almost healed. See Revelation 13:3, 8, 15-17.
Christian Telegraph Article
DW World Article
History of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany
History of the Weimar Constitution
English Text of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany
English Text of Article 139 of the Extracts appended to the “Basic Law” from the Weimar Constitution
Vatican Caritas in Veritate Encyclical
Herbert W. Armstrong warned for years that a German-dominated Europe would be a tool for Rome and enforce their doctrines.
Germany makes pagan Sunday official