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How Project 2025’s ‘Judeo-Christian Traditions’ Seem to Violate the Freedom of Religion (NWN)

This is a News With Nicola story.

Hey, have you heard about Project 2025? Have you read the 900-page so-called “Mandate for Leadership” document? It lays out an ultra-conservative vision for America under a Republican president…maybe Donald Trump.

Well, I haven’t read the whole thing, either. But I did do a quick search of the 900-page document to see what it says about religion, specifically Christianity.

What I found is pretty troubling.

But first, what is Project 2025? Keeping it as simple as possible:

Project 2025 is a far-right conservative program led by the Heritage Foundation that outlines policy proposals and personnel recommendations meant to totally reshape the U.S. federal government…if a Republican candidate wins the 2024 presidential election.

So this 922-page document called the “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise” has a chapter outlining proposed policy changes for the “DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND RELATED AGENCIES.”

This chapter opens with a mission statement opining on “The Judeo-Christian tradition, stretching back to Genesis.”

But then you keep reading, and you get to a part calling for Fair Labor laws to be changed to compel Americans to observe a Sabbath Rest.

It states (emphasis my own):

“God ordained the Sabbath as a day of rest, and until very recently the Judeo-Christian tradition sought to honor that mandate by moral and legal regulation of work on that day. Moreover, a shared day off makes it possible for families and communities to enjoy time off together, rather than as atomized individuals, and provides a healthier cadence of life for everyone. Unfortunately, that communal day of rest has eroded under the pressures of consumerism and secularism, especially for low-income workers.”

The solution, according to Project 2025 architects, is for Congress to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to pay time and a half to employees who work on the Sabbath.

You may recall that Shabbat is referenced in a few places in the Bible, but most thoroughly in Exodus 20:8-11. That’s where God, giving His fourth commandment, tells the covenant Jewish community to rest and refrain from their usual work on the “seventh day.”

To the average “Lord’s Day”-observing Christian, this might sound nice — no more wrestling with an employer about getting Sunday off to go to church.

And, according to Project 2025 architects, the whole point of a national Sabbath Rest is to bolster jobs that don’t require work on the Sabbath…and simultaneously broaden options for those who do want to work on the Sabbath.

Makes so much sense, right?

But when is the Sabbath? And which workers would this apply to?

According to Project 2025, the Sabbath, by default, is Sunday — so the law would preference Christians.

Here are a few reasons why that’s problematic.

First off, the Project 2025 proposal is very Christian-centered. Why would that be a problem? Perhaps that little thing in the First Amendment of the Constitution called freedom of religion. Although this Project 2025 Sabbath policy makes accommodations for Jewish Americans, it’s attempting to establish a Christian practice as the law of the land — whether you happen to be Christian or not. Doesn’t that violate the U.S. Constitution?

Second, the official God-given day of rest originates on a Saturday historically. So what about Christians who don’t observe Sunday as the biblical Sabbath? Are they a separate class of Christians? And what about non-religious folks and Americans of other faiths? Could they be targeted for harassment?

Finally, I imagine the economic burden on employers forced to pay time-and-a-half to Sunday workers could result in many businesses choosing not to operate on Sunday at all…which may very well be the ultimate aim of Project 2025. But how would this impact small business owners?

Sure, it looks nice on one hand — Project 2025 is promoting a national day of self-care — but this proposal for a federal law is rooted in one particular religious vision. Why should the government be involved in controlling otherwise personal religious observances?

Believe it or not, America is not a Christian nation.

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Nicola A. Menzie
Nicola A. Menziehttp://www.nicolamenzieonline.com
Nicola A. Menzie a religion reporter whose bylines have appeared on the websites of the Religion News Service, The Christian Post, CBS News and Vibe magazine. Nicola is the Managing Editor at faithfullymagazine.com. You can find her on Twitter @namenzie. Email: nicola.menzie (at) faithfullymagazine.com.

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