Sunday is for worship, not hunting
The Pennsylvania State Legislature is closer to legalizing Sunday hunting, which has been a discussion point for years.
For the purpose of full disclosure, I am a hunter and have been since the age of 12. Now at 67, I still enjoy getting into the woods. I am also longtime member of the National Rifle Association and am happy to pay my annual dues, as least for now, recognizing that the NRA would like to see Sunday hunting come to Pennsylvania.
But am I in favor of Sunday hunting? Not at all.
Many organizations, both secular and religious, are not in favor of Sunday hunting for various reasons. And I agree with many of those reasons. I also know that one reason pro-Sunday hunting groups are pushing forward is the hope that more young people may develop an interest in hunting.
I doubt that legalizing Sunday hunting will have such a result, simply because many of the younger generation would rather remain indoors than be outdoors carrying a gun through the woods.
So, why do I oppose Sunday hunting? I believe it shows a lack of respect for God and for the Lord’s Day.
I am old enough to remember “blue laws,” when businesses were not open on Sunday so that people would be encouraged to go to church services. Once these blue laws were taken away, church attendance began to drop, as many treated Sunday as just another day of the week.
Consequently, at least in action, God and combined worship with other Christians began to be pushed aside.
There are those who contest they can worship God in the forest as easily as in the church building. I agree with that 100 percent. And, in fact, when I am in the mountains hunting, I often worship God for His greatness seen in creation.
But this issue is a matter of respecting what God desires. The Bible is clear that God desires to have his children gather on Sunday to worship, both in a combined effort as well as to encourage each other in the faith.
More and more, our American culture, which was based upon the Judeo-Christian ethic, is turning away from God. From taking prayer and Bible reading out of government and schools to the point that God cannot even be mentioned in certain settings, the truth of who God is and what God expects is being forgotten.
As a result, society is becoming more secular and sinful. Therefore, I believe legalizing Sunday hunting would show a lack of respect for our resurrected Christ and would potentially add to the trend away from God for those who would participate.
Is it too much to set aside one day a week to gather with other Christians in church to worship God corporately? Is it too much for our state legislature to continue to support one day a week to honor God?
Certainly, committed Christians will do as their personal convictions direct. But I pray that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by legislation, will not enact a law that in any way may lead to disrespecting God, his word and his desires. No one will be hurt if one day a week is maintained to focus on the Lord and honor Him for all He has done for us.
Romans 13:1-7 teaches that government is an institution of God and that those in government have a duty to be a minister of God for that which is good.
Consequently, I pray those in the Pennsylvania state government will uphold their God-given duty, maintain a day to honor him and refuse to legalize Sunday hunting.
(Gary Dull is executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, board member of the American Pastors Network and co-host of APN’s “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program. He pastors Faith Baptist Church of Altoona.)