In our opinion: Communities yearn for religious and secular Sabbaths

Stuart Burford

“While many expressed disappointment in the private company’s decision, what’s remarkable is there are still so many businesses in today’s secularized environment that still shut their doors on Saturday—the Jewish Sabbath—or Sunday.”

A local grocery store long known for keeping its doors closed on Sunday has decided to open in select locations on a day considered sacred within numerous Christian traditions, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns this paper.

While many expressed disappointment in the private company’s decision, what’s remarkable is there are many businesses in today’s secularized environment that still shut their doors on Saturday — the Jewish Sabbath — or Sunday.

Private companies are certainly entitled to make these decisions in order to compete for customers. For example, at the media companies like the Deseret News, round-the-clock news coverage demands a certain number of people are working to stay current and relevant and to deliver a morning report to your phone, computer or doorstep on Sunday and Monday. And the sacrifices of our emergency personnel as well as those who care for the infirm or less fortunate allow for others to enjoy this day of respite.

That’s why it’s all the more remarkable when companies put ethical and moral considerations above pure maximization of profits. Those companies should be commended. RC Willey Home Furnishings, for example, famously negotiated with a boss as big as Warren Buffett to keep its doors closed in Utah and elsewhere on Sundays. The famously family-friendly Maddox Ranch House in Perry, Utah, not only stays closed on Sunday but doesn’t serve alcohol.

Utah, of course, is a diverse state, and not everyone shares Latter-day Saint values or a religious conception of the Sabbath. Indeed, long gone are most of America’s so-called blue laws — or Sunday laws — that restricted certain activities on Sunday. But that’s not to say that a societal day of rest is no longer needed.

In the famous Supreme Court case McGowan v. Maryland, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in defense…

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