France Enforces Sunday Rest

From the September 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

In May, French courts ruled that the Louis Vuitton flagship store must remain closed on Sundays in accordance with law. The suit was brought against the famous Paris fashion house by the French Confederation of Christian Workers. Three facts are revealing:

1) The union that sued has no employees at the store.

2) All 300 employees of the store voted in favor of opening on Sundays.

3) An Ipsos telephone survey in April showed that 75 percent of French citizens polled approve of stores opening on Sunday.

Those three facts—along with every fact associated with this case—changed nothing though. Even if every American citizen approved of it, a community that began driving 50 miles an hour over the speed limit in school zones would still be violating law. In this case, French law was clearly violated: Thou shalt rest on Sunday.

But where does a law like that come from, especially when the citizens of the nation don’t want it? How can the French government defend that law’s existence?

The popular defense of the law is that small merchants can’t compete with larger retailers that have the resources to remain open on Sundays and therefore need government protection. That is poppycock. The law itself is 100 years old—a time when said large retailers simply didn’t have that ability. The National Clothing Federation might be able to make that argument today, but it has nothing to do with the origins of enforced rest on Sunday.

Enforced Sunday worship began with the Roman Empire—specifically Emperor Constantine.

In a letter written after the Nicene Council of a.d. 325, Constantine specifically addressed Sabbath worship: “[F]rom this day forward none of your unlawful assemblies may presume to appear in any public or private place. Let this edict be made public.”

Worship on any day except Sunday was illegal, as confirmed at the Council of Laodicea almost 40 years later, in a.d. 363. At that conference, it was determined, “Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath [that is, Saturday], but must work on that day, rather honoring the Lord’s Day. … But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be anathema [cursed and excommunicated] from Christ” (emphasis ours throughout).

At the Council of Tours in a.d. 1163, Pope Alexander iii was even more specific: “Whereas a damnable heresy [Sabbath worship] has for some time lifted its head in the parts about Toulouse, and already spread infection through Gascony and other provinces, concealing itself like a serpent in its folds; as soon as its followers shall have been discovered, let no man afford them refuge on his estates; neither let there be any communication with them in buying and selling: so that, being deprived of the solace of human conversation, they may be compelled to return from error to wisdom.” In other words, if you worshiped on some day other than Sunday, you couldn’t do business.

That is where Sunday labor laws have their origin. Working on Sunday marks those who do so as pernicious in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church, a stance many European governments have supported throughout the last 1,700 years.

Today, Louis Vuitton is unable to sell its handbags on the Catholic day of rest. In the future, as Europe becomes more integrated and the Vatican takes on a greater leadership role, we know that Sunday observance will be enforced as an identifying sign of the next incarnation of the Holy Roman Empire. For more information, please write for your free copy of Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?