Summary: Are Stores Open Thanksgiving Deserving Of Wide Scale Divine Retribution?
Granted, retailers opening on Thanksgiving might not have been the most family-friendly or magnanimous gesture in relation to their employees. However, the response on the part of certain theologians and critics might have gone a bit overboard.
In particular, one such condemnation intoned that from this alteration in commercial operational policy that America is an evil nation worthy of God's judgment.
So because Walmart was either open on Thanksgiving or opened their doors later that evening, nuclear destruction and annihilation or something comparable should rain down across the nation. That is, of course, what is usually meant by the euphemism of “God's judgment”.
To justify this hardline response to opening stores on Thanksgiving beyond simply frowning upon the decision to actively wanting to see lives ruined because of it, Biblical prohibitions regarding the Sabbath are often invoked.
The intentions might possess a nobility in that these sentiments attempt to construe all of reality through the light of God's word and theology derived from it. However, in terms of religious jurisprudence, the position falls a bit short in terms of serving as a platform upon which one can stand to look righteous in calling for blatant ruination and upheaval.
God no doubt delights when His children offer up gratitude for what He has provided and is angered when this appreciation is not evident. However, it does not follow that one cannot express gratitude in a scheduled ritualized manner prior to engaging in orderly commerce later that same day.
One might even claim that God does not really care one way or another to a great degree about the statutory observance of Thanksgiving Day. It may come as a surprise, but there is nothing found within the pages of the canon of Scripture demanding the observance be commemorated a particular Thursday in November.
It must also be asked to what extent do those enforcing Thanksgiving Day under the Mosaic regulations upholding the Sabbath want these punishments and prohibitions enforced? From Exodus 20:9-11, it is learned that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. Jehovah is quite explicit about this.
In our system of chronometric tabulation, Saturday is the Sabbath. What the vast majority of Christians celebrate each Sunday (especially in the morning) is technically not the Sabbath but rather the Lord's Day to commemorate the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
These have been conflated in the minds of many, especially those under the sway of a strict legalism. However, these days are not the same.
So are those demanding compulsory observance of the Sabbath willing to turn themselves over for execution should they find themselves violating the extensive prohibitions regulating the day? For according to Exodus 31:14, that is the stipulated punishment for those failing to observe the Sabbath of the seventh day if such a regulation still applies beyond Deuteronomical Israel.
When those attending compulsory Sabbath observations return home, do they intend to walk rather than operate a vehicle? For that is the extent to which the most observant Orthodox Jews adhere to the exactness of that divine decree. Senator Joseph Lieberman would not even place his own subway fair card into the electronic ticket-taker.
Furthermore, do those deliberating to make such a chore of relaxation intend to only eat leftovers from the night before or unheated prepackaged foods? Because if the true believing Christian must abide by every Biblical decree in excruciating detail for fear of befalling God's indignation, the preparation of consumables is forbidden as well.
Those more interested in ruining everyone else's celebration rather than simply maximizing their own will respond that simply pointing out what is said plainly in certain passages of Scripture downplayed as a result of those advocating them not wanting a greater majority of Christians to grapple with what is being said actually obscures the greater truth of the principle that is being conveyed. Fair enough.
If not for the principles conveyed by God to the Hebrew forefathers of the need for rest and reflection, mankind might have never comprehended the need for a work environment beneficial for all sides of the economic transaction. Before this revelation, for the most part laborers were little more than fodder to be worked until they dropped and quickly discarded.
However, are those insisting up a slavish adherence to the letter of the law really getting that point across when their homiletical formulations cause the listeners to stop and wonder if what really gets the motors of these scriptural exegetes running is rather body counts, the destruction of property, and overall social upheaval. For are not these in some form or another what is meant by the phrase “God's judgment”?
In these times of widespread debauchery and systematic subversion of Western culture, one usually tries to distance oneself from feminist critiques and condemnation of traditional religion. However, if one desires to be an honest observer of the human condition, one is forced to admit that only a man sitting back with his feet propped up would construe Thanksgiving Day as a Sabbath free from labor.