Ensuring that Sunday is a day of rest

This is a court ruling from 1926 affirming that it was wrong to sell gasoline on Sundays:

Defendant was indicted for violating a city ordinance which prohibited, under penalty, the sale of goods, wares and merchandise on Sunday, and provided that “charity or necessity on the part of the customer may be shown in justification of the violation of this ordinance.”

Defendant opened his filling station on the Sabbath day to dispense gasoline to physicians, officers of the law, tourists, and patrons of his garage which he ran in connection with the filling station. Although defendant sold gasoline only to those who signed statements that it was necessary for them to have it, the particular circumstances under which the sales were made did not appear in the record.

The circuit judge instructed the jury to return a verdict of guilty and defendant appeals on ground that this being the motor age, the sale of gasoline on Sunday is an inherent, essential, and vital necessity.

[The court] Held, that the sale of gasoline is not such a “necessity” as to be permissible on Sunday within the meaning of this law. The sales to physicians, officers, tourists, and persons who kept automobiles in defendant’s garage were not within the exception of the necessity clause contained in the ordinance, and no such emergency was shown by the testimony as brought them within the exception. The burden was on the defendant to bring himself within the exception. Affirmed. Rhodes v. City of Hope, (Ark. 1926), 286 S. W., 877.

Quote source

Washington University (n.d.). Sunday Laws—Acts of Necessity or Charity—Gasoline Not “Necessity”. Washington University Law Review, Volume 12, Issue 1. Available http://openscholarship.wustl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5133&context=law_lawreview. Last accessed 13th Jun 2015.


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