Continuing my series on Oklahoma’s monument to the Ten Commandments, we come to number four:
“Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.”
Under ancient Jewish law, that’s today! So maybe I’m breaking the Sabbath by just writing a post and thereby perhaps generating ad revenue on a Saturday morning? Once again, I must resort to the wisdom of Oklahoma lawmakers to determine whether I’m breaking God’s law. After a bit of grepping about the State Legislature’s website, it turns out Sabbath-breaking may be found in Title 21 – Crimes and Punishments.
§21-907. Sunday to be observed.
The first day of the week being by very general consent set apart for rest and religious uses, the law forbids to be done on that day certain acts deemed useless and serious interruptions of the repose and religious liberty of the community. Any violation of this prohibition is Sabbath breaking.
§21-908. Sabbath-breaking defined.
The following are the acts forbidden to be done on the first day of the week, the doing of any of which is Sabbath-breaking:
1. Servile labor, except works of necessity or charity.
2. Trades, manufactures, and mechanical employment.
3. All horse racing or gaming except as authorized by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Horse Racing Act.
4. All manner of public selling, or offering or exposing for sale publicly, of any commodities, except that meats, bread, fish, and all other foods may be sold at any time, and except that food and drink may be sold to be eaten and drank upon the premises where sold, and drugs, medicines, milk, ice, and surgical appliances and burial appliances and all other necessities may be sold at any time of the day.
§21-909. Persons observing other day as holy.
It is a sufficient defense in proceedings for servile labor on the first day of the week, to show that the accused uniformly keeps another day of the week as holy time, and does not labor upon that day, and that the labor complained of was done in such manner as not to interrupt or disturb other persons in observing the first day of the week as holy time.
§21-911. Punishment for Sabbath breaking.
Every person guilty of Sabbath breaking is punishable by a fine of not more than Twenty five Dollars ($25.00) for each offense.
Ok, so I’m probably in the clear here. I’m not selling commodities, and anyway it’s Saturday, not Sunday. Also, as an atheist, I only recognize last Thursdays as holy. Probably the courts will cut me no slack on this point, but I can at least take comfort in the fact that our lawmakers have once again lowered the Biblical death penalty down to a mere $25.00 fine.
As to the running tally of which ancient laws we should hold on to in modern times, obviously, we shouldn’t be criminalizing work on the weekends. However, since we can all agree that weekends are a good idea (especially for state and federal employees) I’m going to give this one a half-point. In my book, that brings us up to .5 out of four.