Sunday Trading and the Churches

Dear the Churches of England

If you campaign against Sunday trading you are going to seem to the People of England to be as bad as you are. Campaign instead for the rights of shop workers of all religions who work at all times and the People of England might be more convinced. If you take on the Sunday trading thing you are going to lose anyway.

Here in Scotland things have been much more liberal for a long time. We did have quite strict liquor laws which meant you couldn’t buy booze on a Sunday morning anywhere. This meant you couldn’t buy an emergency bottle of wine for communion on a Sunday morning in case it led to drunkenness, which always seemed to me to be a little odd. Even this law has been relaxed now.

Seriously – the fight against Sunday trading isn’t one that churches can win and look sensible or fair. Please don’t make the rest of us look foolish.

Remember the Sabbath day and what it was about and keep what it was about holy. It was about making sure workers got rest. It was about making sure there was time for leisure. It was about making sure that there were opportunities for worship. Churches should campaign for all those things. In multicultural Britain these things do not coalesce any more in the idea of one shared day off a week which is inevitably on a Sunday.

Dear churches of England and the Church of England in particular – pick your battles wisely.

Thank you for your attention.


  1. John O'Leary says

    In Brisbane there has been Sunday trading for many years. Similar fears were expressed by churches here when the idea was proposed, but these proved to be nonsense, just as they will be in England. Those who wish to attend church on Sundays will be no less likely to do so once Sunday trading is allowed. Of course the numbers of those attending church continue to fall, but no one with any common sense would suggest that Sunday trading has anything to do with it. As you say. Kelvin, church representatives should pick the battles they can win. In this case, not only are they bound to lose, but they will look like idiots as well.

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