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The Saturday Half-holiday Post by :hammer23 Category :Essays Author :Lemuel K. Washburn Date :November 2011 Read :1258

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The Saturday Half-holiday

It is pretty certain that the laborer is hereafter to have more time for himself. That fact is already settled, and the demand will be conceded sooner or later. Eat, work and sleep is the ancient trinity of slavery. The modern life demands leisure; the opportunity for enjoyment and self-improvement. How it is best to be secured is a question about which there is a variety of opinions. One of the plans to give the workingman more time for himself is that of the Saturday half-holiday. We see no particular advantage in this over the eight-hour-for-a-day’s-work plan.

It seems to us that if laborers worked eight hours a day and had Sunday for a holiday instead of a holy day, all their requirements would be better answered than in any other way. We do not need a day nor an hour when either work or play would be a crime, and before any other portion of the week is set apart for a holiday, let Sunday be made free to enjoyment and recreation.

There is the eternal bugbear of religion to oppose this scheme, but that is all. The minister, who under free trade on Sunday would be obliged to close up his business, is in favor of a Sabbath law of protection for sermons and prayers, but why should a few clergymen who have six holidays in the week and only one work-day, be favored against millions of toilers, who work six days in the week and are liable to be arrested if they do not go to church on the seventh day? Not a Saturday half-holiday but a Sunday whole-holiday is the first rational step towards justice to the working-man. There is very little in the average Sunday service that is instructive and nothing that is entertaining, and it is based upon the erroneous notion that man owes something that he knows nothing about, a debt of worship one day in seven. Man’s brain should be emancipated from the superstition that there is a God in the universe that requires him to sacrifice his own good to divine vanity. Work is holier than worship, and to play is better for man than to pray.

Man wants leisure to enjoy himself, not to worship God. He can have it when he becomes sensible enough to demand it.

(The end)
Lemuel K. Washburn's essay: Saturday Half-Holiday

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