In one of his first acts as a Boston City Councillor – he hasn’t even been sworn in yet – Sam Yoon has taken a stand against the state’s ghastly blue laws. Among numerous other problems (that I have detailed here and here), the blue laws – originally written by the Puritans to enforce the Sabbath – remain culturally specific beyond all reason: they require all retail stores to be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, regardless of whether the owners, employees, or customers of said retail stores choose to observe either holiday. Yoon’s concern was spurred by the plight of the Super 88 market, which is owned, operated, and patronized largely by persons who celebrate Chinese New Year but not necessarily Thanksgiving or Christmas. The store opened on Thanksgiving (apparently out of ignorance) and on Christmas (out of defiance), and faces criminal penalties as a result.
Said a couple of customers:
“I think it’s unfair to force it to close. It’s a Chinese store,” said Weiqun Li, who traveled to the Herald Street Super 88 from her Shrewsbury home. “If it’s a law it’s probably an unfair law.”
Based on the comments to my previous posts, my viewpoint on the blue laws appears to be a minority one ’round here. But I just can’t see any coherent argument in favor of laws that selectively enforce a single culture, and that do it by restricting liberty. I mean, are Chinese employees of Wal-Mart guaranteed by law the opportunity to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families? Are Jewish employees guaranteed by law the opportunity to observe Yom Kippur by spending the day in synagogue? Super 88 customer Weiqun Li is right: it’s “an unfair law.” It seems to me it is incumbent upon those who back these laws to explain why it’s OK for members of minority religions and cultures to have to fend for themselves, but for American Christians to be able to rely on the state legislature to protect their family time. Doesn’t work for me.