There’s something about a Sunday, so the song goes. And I am not the only one who thinks so. The church tends to take the view that it is a special day. So it is worried that the precedent set by the temporary lifting of the Sunday trading rules for the Olympics will become permanent. And we get the standard concerns being wheeled out:
“It just breaks up that regular time where people can be together.
It’s a form of idolatry – it’s the idol that boosting the economy is the absolute which over-rides all other considerations.”
Except, of course, idolatry is only a sin if you are a believer. If you don’t believe, if you aren’t a member, the rules don’t apply – much like blasphemy.
The Rev Sally Hitchiner, curate of St John’s, Ealing, added: “We’re concerned it could become a precedent, that we could lose some of the specialness of Sunday.
“Sunday should be a time for relationships, there should be a time when we put some boundaries on consumerism, so you can go to the park and play football with the kids, and take your mum breakfast in bed.”
But no one is stopping you. The worry, of course, is that the few people who still attend church will be so overcome by the desire to go out shopping that they will eschew the Sunday service. Frankly, given that shops are already open anyway for several hours, those that would do this have probably already done so. And outside of that, it’s none of the church’s business. If we are not believers, if we are not members of the club, then it is up to us to decide whether we keep Sunday special and do all those social things or if we nip down to the DIY centre and gorge on decorating materials or whatever. It is not up to the church or anyone else to make us observe a particular day – especially as many of us work then anyway.
So, actually, no, it is not the place of the state to impose boundaries on consumerism, because, as with the church, it is none of the state’s business. There should not be any Sunday trading laws at all. So if they go as a consequence of the Olympics fiasco, then at least one good thing will have come out of this monstrous waste of money.