Dr. Mark H. Creech
Recognition of the Fourth Commandment has fallen on hard times, “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). Someone has said our great grandfathers called it the holy Sabbath. Our grandfathers called it the Sabbath. Our fathers called it Sunday and we call it the weekend and it’s been getting weaker all the time.
Those words expressed my sentiments when I first learned that Sunday voting was legal in the Tar Heel state. The practice was first allowed in 2000 and by 2002 only a couple of counties were utilizing it. A handful more added Sunday polling in 2004, and by the general election of 2008 a dozen counties had opened One-Stop Early voting centers on at least one Sunday. Today there are twenty-one counties that have Sunday voting.
I’m certainly not among those who would interpret the Fourth Commandment to mean “Thou shalt be miserable on the Lord’s Day – Sunday.” God didn’t mean for this day to be a burden or a drag on mankind. But what I am concerned about is the way our culture goes to the other extreme to make the Lord’s Day just like any other day. Somewhere between the extremes – honoring the Lord’s Day as a time for worship, spiritual reflection, rest, and family, while recognizing that there can be moments when works of necessity are required – strikes a balance that provides parameters for a healthy life and society.
How one could legitimately argue that Sunday Voting strikes this balance is too much for me. Charles Winfree, a Greensboro attorney and member of the State Board of Elections, holds a similar view, arguing that Sunday voting has not provided any significant benefit for voter turnout overall. Moreover, he contends, “We have to balance between convenience to voters and the burden of election staff and volunteers, especially now since a lot of the precinct workers are getting on up in years.”
On the walls of the Smithsonian Institute are these words: “to secure the blessing of liberty for posterity is the goal of the American Republic.”
Certainly one of the most beautiful, thrilling, and no doubt providential events in American history took place when our forefathers were about to land at Plymouth Rock. One of the primary reasons why they left England was their love for liberty and the Lord’s Day. You see, King James had ruled by law that the Sabbath should be a day just like any other day.
So they braved unbelievable hardships of sixty-three stormy days on the rough Atlantic that they might protect for their posterity the benefits of observing a Sabbath. And they were determined to build a nation upon the foundation of a superstructure of liberty and observance of the Lord’s Day.
They demonstrated this unwavering commitment when they were about to land on our nation’s shore. It was a Saturday. But a storm drove them to Clark Island where they disembarked and made shelter for the night. The next day was Sunday. Instead of reloading their ships and sailing for Plymouth Rock, they observed the Lord’s Day together. On Monday, December 11, 1620, they set sail and landed at Plymouth Rock.
They brought their loyalty for both liberty and the Lord’s Day with them. And our history shows that this nation has always recognized this union of liberty and the Lord’s Day.
This commitment was passed down through the generations so that George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War, Woodrow Wilson during the first World War – all gave orders to relieve troops as far as possible from fatigue duty on Sunday, giving them the opportunity to attend public worship services. Presidents Hayes and Garfield would walk to church so their staff and servants might rest and worship on the Lord’s Day. President Grant, once in Paris, refused to attend horse races on Sunday. President McKinley at the opening of the Sate Centennial of Tennessee refused a trip to Lookout Mountain, saying politely, “No, I don’t go sightseeing on Sunday.” President’s Theodore Roosevelt and Coolidge spoke in appreciation of the Lord’s Day; Coolidge said, “I profoundly believe in the Lord’s Day.” It’s said that President Truman while on a fishing excursion on the Columbia River, refused to cast a line on Sunday. 
Allow me to lay down in simple mathematical terms the benefits of Sunday observance. Every seventh day is a Sunday, therefore: (1) Every 7 years a person has lived a full year of Sundays (2) A person of 21 years old has had 3 years of Sundays for spiritual improvement (3) A person of 35 years has had 5 years (4) A person of 70 years old has had 10. Can you imagine what spiritual and character enrichment, as well as time for rest, that means? The results are incredibly positive! 
I can appreciate the fact that distinctive Christian institutions like the “Lord’s Day,” or the “Christian Sabbath” must find their place today in the larger social context. But it should also be noted that when the general context ignores religion or fails to properly respond to its institutions, then the value of religious influence on the culture is greatly diminished.
I reject Sunday voting, not simply as a Christian, certainly not as a Republican or a Democrat, but as a patriot. Our liberty was bought at a great price – the price of blood. But to preserve it, we must possess the highest type of patriotism. To preserve our liberty and the values that have made us the most blessed nation in human history, we must be a fervent God-loving, God-fearing, God-honoring people.
I suggest that to secure constitutional government we need that pause from the normal activities of life to find that quiet place of rest, recovery, and spiritual reflection. One day out of seven for a respite and acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty over us makes us better citizens. It is a Sunday-cultivated character that makes an electorate fit to guard and preserve its liberties.
What is more, I believe Sunday voting should not be legal because Churches across North Carolina need such support from the state so that they may continue to effectively do what they are commissioned to do. There are already numerous and untold activities taking place on Sundays that perpetuate an environment that undermines the invaluable influence of the Christian religion in the structure of the nation, in the welfare of the people, in the orderliness of society, and in the idealism of life.
Sunday is the church’s prime time for developing the character of a nation that can sustain the demands of self-government, which is absolutely necessary to sustaining freedom.
State government is always considering ways it can support the business environment so businesses may boom and thrive. Is it any less important that churches be given equal favor by the state so that they may make an uninhibited contribution to a morality that keeps liberty alive?
Granted, there are churches who argue for Sunday voting. Nevertheless, I suggest that in taking such a position they exchange their birthright for a mess of pottage.
Adding something else to our Sunday agendas to conflict with that nobler goal of building the souls of men is contrary not just to the Christian religion, but contrary to our history. In 1845 the United States Congress chose a single date for national elections in all states. Election Day would be held on a Tuesday so that voters would not have to vote or travel on Sunday.
Without question, it’s important to get people to the polls to vote, but I suggest it’s critically more important to preserve the greater purpose behind the Lord’s Day.
The question is not so much how prohibiting Sunday Voting may restrict the actions of those who argue for it, but whether we will protect and promote the greater benefits accrued from preserving our liberties for posterity by honoring the Lord’s Day.
As a culture, we cannot break this commandment without being broken by it.
 Christian Digest, as reported by Paul Lee Tan, ThD., Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times, Assurance Publishers, 1988, pg. 1389
 Ibid, Eleanor Doan, pg. 1388