Sunday

Yes, Chick-fil-A opened on Sunday to help stranded fliers in Atlanta (This wasn't a first)

Yes, Chick-fil-A opened on Sunday to help stranded fliers in Atlanta (This wasn't a first)

Thanks to The Drudge Report, the Internet is buzzing with Chick-fil-A news linked to that massive power outage at the massive Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The hook for this blitz of cyber chatter? That would be the fact that the fire that shut down America's busiest airport took place on a Sunday. Thus, it was very symbolic that Chick-fil-A -- an omnipresent reality in Atlanta culture -- came to the rescue.

But most of the news coverage is missing a crucial fact about this Chick-fil-A on Sunday story. You see, this isn't the first time that this conservative company has done this. Can you remember the other emergency that inspired similar action? Think back a year or so ago and, yes, think "religion angle." Hold that thought.

Now, here is the Mashable.com report that, with lots of Twitter inserts, is getting all of that Drudge traffic:

Chick-fil-A, famed for never opening on Sundays and will likely never be, has made an exception.
The fast food chain is stepping in to feed passengers left affected by the Atlanta airport blackout, according to the City of Atlanta. They'll be served at the Georgia International Convention Center, where they are able to stay overnight, which is a pretty nice consolation given what some of these people have gone through. ...
It's a remarkable aberration from the company's policy on Sunday trading hours, rooted in founder Truett Cathy's devout Christian beliefs. The policy remains the same at the Chick-fil-A in the newly opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Its main tenant, the Atlanta Falcons, will only play one regular season game that doesn't fall on a Sunday. ...
See, this is how bad it has to get for Chick-Fil-A to open on a Sunday.

Actually, something is missing from that report and, well, the same angle is missing from most of the other online news reports about the not-on-Sunday angle in other reports.

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Wednesday is the new Sunday, a major paper reports, but are there any theological implications to that?

Wednesday is the new Sunday, a major paper reports, but are there any theological implications to that?

Our mantra here at GetReligion is that the mainstream news media should take religion seriously.

But way too often, newspapers such as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune — today's example — offer faith coverage that is about as meaty as pink cotton candy.

The Star-Tribune this week published a skeleton of a story exploring a subject that — if approached more thoughtfully — could be extremely timely and insightful concerning modern worship trends.

Instead, readers are treated to a religious puff piece.

The story subject: churches turning to Wednesday night as an alternative to Sunday worship. 

The lede:

Each Wednesday, the Latzke family heads to their Bloomington church for an evening of religious education and a worship service. Sunday is too packed to squeeze in church, so now Wednesday is their day — as it is for thousands of busy Minnesotans.
“Wednesday is the new Sunday,” is what some clergy call this trend reflecting the scheduling quirks of modern families.
“This works really nice for us because we’re so busy on weekends,” said Robyn Latzke shortly before the service at Transfiguration Lutheran Church. “She dances, and she plays volleyball,” Latzke said, pointing to her daughters.
“And I farm on weekends with my brother,” added her husband, Jeff Latzke.
As churches across Minnesota try new ways to accommodate the hectic lives of the faithful, Wednesday night services have emerged as a popular option.
For churches that already offered religious education on Wednesdays, adding a worship service was a logical fit. For others, a Wednesday service helps folks who travel on weekends, hold down jobs, or schlep children to hockey, soccer and other events.

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Why you can buy a beer in North Dakota on Sunday morning but not a belt at Wal-Mart

Why you can buy a beer in North Dakota on Sunday morning but not a belt at Wal-Mart

On a reporting trip to North Dakota last year, I woke up bright and early Sunday and enjoyed a not-so-healthy breakfast at McDonald's.

When I finished eating, I had an hour to kill before services at the Bismarck church I was covering for The Christian Chronicle. Since I was driving that afternoon to Black Hills Bible Camp in South Dakota, I decided to visit the closest Wal-Mart. I needed to buy a few snacks and supplies.

But when I got to the Wal-Mart — which looked just like the 24-hour supercenter near my home in Oklahoma City — I found the parking lot strangely empty. Even odder, the store's automatic doors refused to open for me. Weird, I thought.

However, Google Maps quickly located a Super Target just down the street. I discovered that it, too, was closed.

I was reminded of my experience when The Associated Press reported this week that North Dakota is debating whether to lift its Sunday morning shopping ban.

Of course, there's a strong religion angle — and kudos to AP for stressing it:

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota residents can order alcohol at a restaurant or bar late Sunday morning but must wait until afternoon to go shopping because of a ban — rooted in religious tradition — that some legislators say no longer makes much sense.
Critics of the nation's strictest so-called blue law began another effort Monday to strip it from the books. Some such restrictions have existed since North Dakota became a state in 1889, stemming from fears that visiting a retail store on Sunday morning would compete with church and erode family values, leaving little time for rest.
"I'm annoyed that I have to wait until Sunday afternoon to shop," said Fargo Democratic Rep. Pam Anderson, who has introduced legislation that would abolish the shopping restrictions. She said ending the prohibition would add tax revenue for the state and provide more employment opportunities.
A House committee began mulling the bill on Monday but took no immediate action. Anderson called it a "falsehood" that allowing Sunday morning sales would impact the number of people in the pews.

I'm not certain the politician seeking the law's repeal is the best source to assess whether Sunday morning sales would hurt church attendance.

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Give it a rest: On #ElectionDay, a pretty kitty picture and a reminder of simpler times

Give it a rest: On #ElectionDay, a pretty kitty picture and a reminder of simpler times

We interrupt Election Day — and all the stress from the divisiveness of the 2016 presidential race — with a picture of a pretty kitty.

I'd like to dedicate this post to my friend Summer Heil, a cat lover and regular GetReligion reader.

While we give politics a rest — just for a brief moment — it seems like an appropriate time to highlight a recent feature by Boston Globe religion writer Lisa Wangsness.

The headline:

And on the seventh day, many don’t rest at all

Now, there's a bit of confusion here because the seventh day is Saturday, while the story's opening focuses on how Sunday, the first day of week, used to be a time of rest. However, most readers will understand the headline's reference to the Jewish Sabbath, which is the seventh day of the week. 

The lede sets the scene:

People over age 40 can remember a time when, because of blue laws — the Colonial-era prohibitions against commercial activities on Sundays — most stores were closed and very little aside from praying, newspaper-reading, and loafing around happened on Sunday mornings.
That changed as blue laws were repealed or went unenforced in the late 20th century and as many denominations relaxed their rules.
But now, some people are looking longingly at the religious structures that once forced even the nonreligious to take time to relax and enjoy life, and experimenting with ways to embrace something like the Sabbath to help authorize a day away from workaday concerns.
As the psychotherapist and minister Wayne Muller has written, in the Hebrew tradition, the Sabbath is not an option or a lifestyle suggestion, but “a commandment, right next to ‘Do not kill’ and ‘Do not steal’ and ‘Do not lie.’ ”

In case you're unfamiliar with the term, "blue laws" were called that because they were written on blue paper, as I noted in a 2003 Associated Press story. Why were they written on blue paper? That, I couldn't tell you ...

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