Friday, October 14, 2011

Blue Laws

Hey friends haven’t you ever heard about Blue laws? What the relation between Blue a colour with the law? Actually blue law is not a law that is related with colours but it is a kind of practice that restrict the trade of particular goods mainly in Sunday for the promotion of Christian Sabbath (Weekend Holidays).Before going to Blue Laws we must know what is Sabbath? The term Sabbath has originated from the Hebrew word “abat” means “to cease rest.”The Sabbath is the seventh day of week on which Jews and Christians believes that God rested after creating everything. The Christians and Jews consider this day as the day to meet for services to worship their God and often, rest themselves. And in order to protect and promote Sabbath, Blue Laws came. The concept of blue law is practiced mainly in United States and Canada and it aims to promote religious standards and moral values. Under Blue laws there occur restrictions on Sunday shopping on products like alcohols, beverage, and automobiles and occasionally on all commerce. During the early period Blue Laws outlawed Sunday work, travel, housework, cooking, clothing people could wear, and even sexual intercourse. It is believed that blue is the colour of paper upon which the code of laws was printed and hence these laws were come to be known as Blue laws. It was also believed that the term “Blue” in Blue law came from the proverb that “true blue will never stain” like that a man of fixed principles and resolutions, firmly grouped upon reasonableness and justice of such principles, will not be easily broke up from them or it cannot the interchanged by any evil interaction. So the term law was originated under a confident belief that these laws cannot be interchanged or distracted and is for promoting religious standards and beliefs. And blue is the symbol to summarize something of higher quality that cannot be destroyed easily and hence the name Blue law came. Majority of the people were still in the beliefs that the Blue Laws were first quoted in a Blue paper and hence the term Blue Law coined out.

Blue Laws often prohibit the trading activities during certain hours and there are exceptions to the prohibition of commerce on grocery and drugstores. The practice of providing rest on Sunday was come to establish was in Rome. Blue law was first enacted in 1600 on the colony of Virgina and its main aim was to require the attendance of people towards church on Sundays which they considered as their worshipping holiday. Farmers were excluded from this Blue law provision. The early provision of Blue law application includes restrictions on sale of Alcohol, sports, barbering and general labour. But later it had spread through all the sections of trade and commerce. Strict Punishments were provided for persons who were doing non-religious activity on Sunday under Sabbath rules which were a great example of how a state government can socially control citizens for promoting religious standards and beliefs. In the case of McGowan v Maryland (1961) several employers of a discount department store sold a few items like floor wax and loose-leaf notebook to the customers on Sunday. The government of Maryland observed that these persons had violated Maryland’s Blue law which only allows certain items such as drugs, tobacco, newspaper and some food stuffs to be sold on Sunday. The court in this case had held that Blue laws did not violate the free exercise clause because the employee alleges only economic injury and infringement on their own religious practice. The court had also observed that the blue law did not violate the division between church and state where the Maryland’s laws based on secular rather than religious state interests. The aim of blue laws are to improve the health, safety ,recreation and general well being of citizens and its present purpose of the laws is to provide a uniform day of rest for all. And in fact this day is of particular significance for various Christian sects do not bar the state from achieving its secular goals. Another case is R. v Big M Drug limited (1985) in this case Big M Drug mart ltd was charged with carrying on the sale of goods on Sunday violating the act of Lord and Big M was acquitted for trial and judge of the trial court founded that the lord’s act was a criminal statute violating the acts under section 2(a) of charter. And the court held that the provisions of Blue law was unconstitutional and also blue law is violated because Big M Drug mart ltd is a corporation rather than a natural person so it cannot have a religion and therefore religious freedom was not violated.

The Blue law is also practiced in Muslims countries since the term Blue law is not common there. In the city of Basra in Iraq the city council banned all alcoholic sells on Islamic holiday but the Christian merchants protested against this and it got the law over tuned and Christian Merchants raised their victory and they commented their victory as “Freedom has won this time in Iraq. Also in most of the Islamic countries no people are allowed to eat, drink or smoke in public during the holy fast month of Ramzan. Also during the period of fasting restaurants are ordered to be closed. So we can undoughtfully say that Blue laws were powerful battalions to promote religious faiths. Most of the countries were using Blue laws as equipment against Alcoholism under the religious customs and practice. But the practice of Blue Law is differing from state to state in United States. In every state of United States the sale of alcohol generally stops at a certain times in morning. In New York alcohol may not be sold between three and eight o'clock in stores on Sunday. In Ohio the selling of alcohol on Sunday requires a special license to sell, alcohol was outlawed in the state of Massachusetts till 2004.In this way different states in United States practicing different kinds of Blue laws that have changed at that time. Some states represent Blue Law as Sunday closing laws in order to exist them in general level. The practice of Blue Law started fading by 1985 and by 2004 only some of the states were practicing it by giving the importance as a religious custom. The main reason for the fading of Blue Law is that it is a religious custom not a Constitutional law. Because in highly populated states like New York the population contains all kinds of people like Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Atheists etc.

By the beginning of 21st century the practice of Blue Law and become less importance and most of the liquor stores started opening on Sundays. Even some of the states in US are still practicing it. In some liquor stores hours of sales are limited as compared to Saturdays and other weekdays. But even today some European countries were still following Blue Laws because religion is given more importance in European countries rather than America. The one reason for its diminishing was in the 21st century it was not become strictly religious in nature as compared to the 19th and 20th century and also these kinds of law didn’t have any constitutional support. In fact the Blue Laws had a played a major role in promoting religious faiths and beliefs and also act against alcoholism. Such kinds of law should be needed for Religious and Social welfare. The ultimate aim of Blue Law is a secular aim to close particular businesses on a given day in observance of a simple day of rest.

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