Sometimes a law impacting only a tiny handful of people teaches us so much about bigger picture things in our politics. Consider this:
The North Carolina House recently passed a bill, HB640, that did among other things loosen up some of the restrictions on hunting on Sunday. The vote was a solid 83-35. And by loosen up, all this bill does is allow people to hunt on their own land on Sundays in rural counties, and they cannot hunt close to a church or to someone else’s house. Migratory bird hunting, which is done on public waterways, is not touched by this bill. And if local counties don’t want to allow Sunday hunting, this state bill allows those counties to re-install the ban for their constituencies.
In other words, this is not only one of the most sensible and Constitutional friendly pieces of legislation to ever come down the pike, it is the rare occasion when government willingly gives up some power and control over us. It is also the rare occasion where centralized power divests itself of that power in favor of more local control. Both of these are very very good things!
Thus, regardless of where you come down on hunting, you should celebrate this. FTR, I do not hunt – I would just rather do other things – but this bill is long overdue in my opinion, and as a matter of faith and a matter of politics, I am offended by the absurd reasoning of those who oppose it. More on that in a minute.
Currently, North Carolina is one of 11 states in the country that ban hunting with firearms on Sunday. The bill must pass the Senate and then get the Governor’s signature to become law.
Keep in mind that the key here is not Sunday hunting in one state at all. It is about what is, and is not, the proper role of government into the daily lives of law abiding citizens who are on their own property. If they are law abiding and on their own property – I say that role is virtually NONE.
What is fascinating, and disturbing really, is how wrong headed so many proponents of both sides of the argument are. And since I am firmly in the “pro” camp on this, I’ll slice up the lobbying efforts for my point of view first.
As stated above, the big reason to lift the ban is that simply that it is none of government’s business what legal activities property owners do on their own time and on their own property. To single out one activity is capricious and arbitrary. Our Founders warned us about this.
Seriously, how can government possibly justify intellectually that hunting with a firearm is bad on Sunday while hunting with a bow is fine? How can fishing – which is really nothing more than hunting for fish – be okay on Sunday while hunting with a firearm is not? In fact, almost all the fishing is done on public waterways, so fishermen (and I do fish) don’t even have the private property claim on their side. The point is, obviously all the activities are morally fine, and all should be allowed.
The Sunday ban is not, and never was, inside the proper role of government. Yes, I know people accepted it, but it was never the right thing to do.
These principles however were not even mentioned by the lobbying efforts – led by sporting goods chains, hotels, restaurants, the NRA, etc – to get this bill passed. In a coordinated effort across all 11 states, this group concocted an absurd report about the “economic benefit” of Sunday hunting. They want us to believe that somehow allowing folks to hunt a few extra days a year, on their own land, with stuff they have lying around the house, is going to create 27 thousand new jobs and generate all kinds of other financial goodies.
I’ve no idea what kind of voodoo economics they used to get to those figures, but one of the flaws is certainly that they assumed these new Sunday hunters are currently not participating in the economy on Sundays at all. Ridiculous. Whatever the economic impact will be, it will be a minor rounding error. It’s not the reason to pass this bill.
This is so illustrative of a much bigger problem that impacts every single issue: even with those on the right side of issues in the political class, they never seem to even contemplate the right thing to do It’s just not part of their calculus. Moreover, they don’t think anyone else does either. They live in a world where it’s all about economics, and thus they project that we do too. Thus they think it’s advantageous to cook the books to make their argument look economically advantageous. It backfired this time.
In doing so, they enraged and animated their opposition, which is largely what I’ll call the “angry preacher caucus.” This focus on economics gave life to the preachers the self righteous “God and mammon” argument. The opposition is all about the Sabbath and God and Christian heritage.
The problems with those arguments are many. First, the Bible never shows Jesus or Paul using the power of secular government for enforce faith traditions. (In the Old Testament, government was rarely secular, and God changed that paradigm, so don’t even go there). Second, to assume the Sabbath as midnight Saturday/Sunday to midnight Sunday/Monday is just not accurate, let alone universal. That’s merely a western church tradition, not a God tradition.
And while we’re at it, the “rest” on the Sabbath concept does not mean just lay around and do nothing. It means rest from your labors – your job in other words. Here these preachers are, many of whom go to Golden Corral or somewhere like that with their congregants after service, forcing people to “labor” on the Sabbath simply to satisfy their selfish wants. They probably think frisbee, fishing, watching football or NASCAR, or going to the grocery store is okay too. Why?
Can you say hypocrites?
Third, this law does not force anyone to hunt on Sundays, nor does it force anyone to hear others hunt on Sundays. That’s the great thing about the law – it reduces what government forces us to do or not do – while protecting the rights of those who do not hunt as well. Win-win.
And fourth, the bill does allow the county commissions to reinstate the ban for their counties if they deem it the right thing to do. These pastors should concentrate on their own counties and leave the rest of the state out of their pharisaical beliefs.
And I would add a fifth: I’m not sure that rigid legalism has any profitable place in the Kingdom of God. I don’t think it brings anyone closer to God. In fact, I think the opposite. That’s why I say as a Christian, a patriot, and a non-hunter, I strongly support lifting the ban on Sunday hunting on private lands.
It’s the right thing to do.