Keep Holy the Sabbath is About Rest


There is a case before the Supreme Court that could decide whether or not employees get a day off. Gerald Groff is a strict Sabbatarian Christian, that is, he refuses to work on Sunday because it violates the Third Commandment. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service since 2013. At first, management tried to accommodate Groff’s beliefs. That changed in 2017 and in 2019 he quit. He subsequently sued the USPS for failing to accommodate his religious practice. A district court ruled in favor of USPS, alleging that Groff imposed undue burdens on “his coworkers, disrupted the workplace, and diminished employee morale.” The case now goes to the Supreme Court.
Two parts of this case deserve examination. First, the argument that Groff’s religious practice imposes an undue burden on his fellow employees. At first glance, this makes sense: no one likes being forced to cover an absentee fellow employee. Yet, Groff’s absence is not the problem, nor is he necessarily the one imposing the burden. What about the company? Why not give everyone Sunday off? Groff’s fellow workers should not get mad at him, but at the company which treats them as instruments to maximize profit.
Second, we ask the question: Why did God give us the Third Commandment? Does God need our worship? Not at all. God is perfect; He needs nothing and no one. God instituted the Sabbath rest for humanity. Contrary to popular opinion: God’s commands are good for us. Rest is the basis of culture. Groff’s case is not just about the freedom to practice one’s religion, it is about being able to take time for rest.


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