By Rev. Mark Creech, Executive Director
Christian Action League
He had trained for the 1924 Summer Olympics hosted by the city of Paris, France. The 100 meters was his best event. But when he learned the 100 meters race would be run on Sunday, Eric Liddell, a devout Christian from Scotland, withdrew, refusing to run on the Lord’s Day. Choosing instead to run the 400 meters race, Liddell went to the starting blocks and an American masseur slipped a piece of paper into his hand that quoted I Samuel 2:20, “Those who honor me I will honor.” Liddell ran with that piece of paper in his hand, not only to win the race, but to break the existing world record. Portrayed in the award winning film, Chariots of Fire, one might even say that Liddell is known today as much for his honoring of the Fourth Commandment as he is an athlete.
Would that such virtue had been as prevalent when the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission chose last year to allow for Sunday bow hunting and falconry – ending nearly 150 years of no hunting on Sundays in the Tar Heel State. Granted, the decision was limited to only these two forms of hunting and to private lands, but those who can’t see this as progressive and that it will ultimately lead to all forms of Sunday hunting, are naïve at best or just don’t understand the nature of politics.
Since the decision was made, the Wildlife Resources Commission received sufficient letters in protest requiring a stay be placed on their rules change to allow an opportunity for the North Carolina General Assembly to respond. If the legislature does not respond in the Short Session, then the rules change will stand and become law. Thus, Representatives Dewey Hill (D-Columbus) and Rep. Timothy Spear (D-Chowan) introduced HB 1930 – Repeal Rule Change/Sunday Hunting. Unfortunately, the measure has been sent to the Rules Committee and the House leadership has made it clear the bill will not be allowed a hearing.
This is outrageous! The Wildlife Resources Commission, an unelected body, has put into place a measure that is progressive and will lead to the legalization of all forms of Sunday hunting. This measure is in stark contrast to their own study in 2006 that revealed most hunters do not support Sunday bow hunting and neither do most North Carolinians support Sunday hunting in general. Yet the House leadership is preventing the people any remedy to correct this erroneous decision by not allowing any legislation for repeal to be heard. Any person with a sense of fair-play and an elementary understanding of representative government should be deeply troubled.
What is more, there is especially good reason for the Christian community to be troubled. Distinctive Christian institutions like the “Lord’s Day” have to find their place in the larger social context. Still, if the general social context ignores religion or fails to properly respond to the institutions and expressions of religion, it undermines the value of religious influence on the culture.
Lawmakers are constantly looking for ways to help small businesses, providing tax incentives to draw various corporations to North Carolina, etc., all in an effort to create an environment that is friendly to business and economic prosperity. But churches also make a major contribution to the overall welfare of the state’s well-being.
Churches are instrumental in helping people have more stable family lives; in helping young people escape poverty; helping people contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment; enabling people to experience less depression, more self-esteem, fewer out of wedlock births, less drug abuse, fewer suicides, and less crime. Churches provide for their attendants an experience of faith that enables them to have positive health benefits such as an increase in longevity of life, a lessening of incidences of many killer diseases and improving one’s chances of recovery from illness. Churches are also a major source of strength and recovery from alcohol and drug addictions, and marital breakdown.
These statements are based on scientific studies compiled by sources such as Time magazine, the Gallup-affiliated organization Religion in American Life, Harvard University and others.
The point here is that churches perform an invaluable service to North Carolina and should be recognized by the state. Their contribution is every bit as important, even more so, than that of the business community. Churches need support from the North Carolina General Assembly in providing an environment conducive to religious prosperity as well. Failing to allow them the opportunity to vote through their representatives on a Sunday hunting proposal is to ignore their contributions in favor of those who would unwittingly undermine their efforts.
It should be remembered Sunday is the churches’ prime time for reaching people. It’s the churches’ prime time for training people to do good works of sacrifice and service. Indeed, there are a number of other activities currently allowed on Sundays. But Sunday hunting in any form won’t legitimize the other activities taking place on Sundays, nor vice versa. Many of these activities already 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? It’s not possible to keep going in this same direction without reducing to impotence the power of faith in the life of the culture. Sunday bow hunting is just one more thing!!!
Ahhh, but “no,” the House leadership says there should be no second-guessing on the Wildlife Resources Commission’s decision on Sunday bow hunting. Dissenters – should remain silent!!!!
Placed in Eric Liddell’s hand was a piece of paper with the admonition from I Samuel 2:20, “Those who honor me I will honor.” Those who honor the Lord’s Day, God will honor. Those who honor his people, He will honor. But it’s also equally true that those who dishonor God, God will dishonor. To be complicit with those who dishonor God, is to dishonor Him.
North Carolina needs a host of people like Eric Liddell right now.
Take Christian Action: Contact the members of the House Rules Committee and ask them to request the leadership to allow a hearing of HB 1930 – Repeal Rule Change/Sunday Hunting. Be sure to place your name and address at the bottom of your email. Then be sure to copy it to all members.
Listed Below are the Email Addresses of each member of the House Rules Committee:
Chairman: Rep. Bill Owens, Bill.Owens@ncleg.net
Vice Chair: Rep. Rick Glasier, Rick.Glazier@ncleg.net
Vice Chair: Rep. Dewey Hill, Dewey.Hill@ncleg.net
Vice Chair: Rep. Paul Leubke, Paul.Luebke@ncleg.net
Vice Chair: Rep. Deborah Ross, Deborah.Ross@ncleg.net
Rep. Jeff Barnhardt, Jeff.Barnhart@ncleg.net
Rep. Larry Bell, Larry.Bell@ncleg.net
Rep. Harold Brubaker, Harold.Brubaker@ncleg.net
Rep. Jim Crawford, Jim.Crawford@ncleg.net
Rep. Bill Current, Bill.Current@ncleg.net
Rep. Jerry Dockham, Jerry.Dockham@ncleg.net
Rep. Hugh Holliman, Hugh.Holliman@ncleg.net
Rep. Julia Howard, Julia.Howard@ncleg.net
Rep. Verla Insko, Verla.Insko@ncleg.net
Rep. Maggie Jeffus, Maggie.Jeffus@ncleg.net
Rep. Carolyn Justice, Carolyn.Justice@ncleg.net
Rep. Jimmy Love, Jimmy.Love@ncleg.net
Rep. Danny McComas, Danny.McComas@ncleg.net
Rep. Marian Mclawhorn, Marian.McLawhorn@ncleg.net
Rep. Mickey Michaux, Mickey.Michaux@ncleg.net
Rep. Mitchell Setzer, Mitchell.Setzer@ncleg.net
Rep. Fred Steen, Fred.Steen@ncleg.net
Rep. Thom Tillis, Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net
Rep. Jennifer Weiss, Jennifer.Weiss@ncleg.net
Rep. Douglas Yongue, Douglas.Yongue@ncleg.net