Blue Laws in North Dakota

From the Fargo-Morehead Forum:

LEAFY SPURGE: To all those North Dakotans who cling to the myth that partial Sunday opening (noon for most businesses) somehow honors a Sabbath day. If individual North Dakotans opt to avoid retail stores or entertainment venues on their Sabbath, more power to them. The state’s relaxing of Sunday morning closing laws to accommodate people who might need flood-related merchandise is another indication the law is a waning symbol of religious interference in the secular marketplace. Let’s get honest: Merchants should be able to open their doors whenever they choose. North Dakotans who don’t want to shop on Sunday – morning or any other time on that day – can stay home or in church. Others will want to shop. It should be their choice, not the state’s.

The North Dakota Catholic Conference responded thusly. Final point: “Sunday closing laws are not about honoring the Sabbath day. They are about honoring people and families. ”

The Catholic Conference says nothing about honoring those people and families who do honor the Sabbath, and who suffer from civil enforcement of manmade religious rules.

The text of the law does give an exemption for one who “observes a day other than Sunday as the Sabbath.” But then follows a bizarre list of items that can’t be sold between midnight Saturday and noon on Sunday. I don’t see anywhere that this is a new law. Here’s a history of blue laws in North Dakota.