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A flimsy argument

Published 10:11am Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The issue of Sunday hunting has once again reared its head and, as usual, has sparked heated debate. Based on two identical pieces of legislation currently being considered in the General Assembly – one in the House of Delegates and the other in the Senate – and the votes taken so far, the state seems poised to amend the current code to allow hunting on Sundays.

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors last week, after a 5-2 vote, passed a resolution to oppose the measure.

Proponents of the new legislation claim that landowner rights are being violated by the current Sunday hunting prohibition. In all likelihood, that will be the winning argument that leads to the new law’s passage.

Many opponents, including several on the board of supervisors who supported the resolution, cite their Christian beliefs as the primary reason for maintaining the current ban. That argument is flimsy at best.

Never mind the fact that specifically banning hunting on Sundays for religious reasons is clearly discriminatory against Christians over any other religious group. One board member, who was asked why he opposed Sunday hunting, said “The issue to me is that I feel that it’s a day that should be reserved for activities of Christianity.” Those of the Jewish faith who observe the Sabbath on Saturday could just as easily argue that Saturday hunting should then be banned for similar reasons. Not allowing Sunday hunting because of specific Christian beliefs in direct conflict with the first amendment of the Constitution of The Unites States.

But the real reason the “day of rest” argument fails to pass the smell test is because hunting is the only activity the Southampton County Board of Supervisors seems to take issue with on Sundays. The board of supervisors has passed no resolution to oppose Sunday golfing. Or fishing. Or movie watching, the drinking of alcohol or grass cutting. There is no movement, at least that we are aware of, to oppose Sunday afternoon football playing or NASCAR watching, horseback riding or bicycle riding. The board does not oppose Sunday trash disposal, even at sites owned by the county and staffed by county employees on the Christian Sabbath.

Only Sunday hunting appears to have made the board’s list of un-Christian like activities.

Perhaps there are many valid reasons for continuing a ban on Sunday hunting, and we suspect that as the state draws nearer to amending the current code in order to allow it, those local hunters in opposition will voice them. But by citing religious beliefs as their primary reason, those who are opposed to Sunday hunting may unwittingly be hastening the new law’s arrival.

  • MyHometown

    A lot of great points were made in this article. Mostly, there are many other activities going on on Sundays. Precisely why Sunday hunting should not be allowed. There are only two days of the weekend. As it stands, there is one for the hunters and the other for everyone else. If you don’t get it, the other activities do not involve the potential to kill another “unsuspecting” outdoor enthusiasts.
    Some people want to have their way with little or no concern for how it affects their neighbors. We have abundant natural resources here in this county. They should be shared by all. The current laws give everyone an opportunity to share this resources.

    Suggest Removal

  • happycamper

    The following was my recent post to another article on this topic. I stand by these comments:

    This bill concerns some of the last remnants of the “Blue Laws” in Virginia. It’s pretty interesting to read about the history of blue laws around the U.S., and how they’ve been “cherry-picked” to suit the whims of a few.

    Lots of areas have (have had) blue laws concerning the sale of alcohol. Funny how it was okay in some areas to sell beer and wine, but not “hard liquor”. What’s the rationale there? In Maryland, the law said you can’t buy liquor at a store, but it’s okay to buy a drink in a restaurant. What’s the rationale there?

    In Baltimore, they used to dictate the starting times of the old Colts football games so folks would have time to go to church first. Wonder how that worked? Ya’ think they held off on tailgating until after the benediction?

    In NJ, they had blue laws against digging clams on Sunday. What???

    There have been blue laws specifically dealing with the sale of paint, lawnmowers and mirrors on Sunday. Why?

    All of this points out the arbitrary nature of blue laws in general. Hunting on Sunday is not a big deal. I have friends who live in SC. They can hunt on Sunday. I’ve not noticed the decline of folks in churches there.

    Let’s get a life, folks. Hunting on Sunday is not a big deal. Those who would like to … will. Those who oppose it … won’t!

    Suggest Removal

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