From Jay Moore: Sunday Cinema Skirmish

Jay Moore’s newest book, “Abilene Daily: Snapshots of Home,” contains one or more
vignettes from Abilene’s history for each day of the year. Periodically, stories with some connection–however loose–to Abilene’s religious life will be featured in Spirit of Abilene. The book can be purchased at Texas Star Trading Co., 174 Cypress St. or call 325-672-9696. Books are $27.50.
Jay Moore

Following is an excerpt from Jay Moore’s book, Abilene Daily: Snapshots of Home, dated January 17, 1941.

Sunday Cinema Skirmish

Following sixty minutes listening to Abilene preachers, laymen and college presidents who pointedly protested a proposed ordinanace to allow for Sunday night movies–punctuated by frequent “amens” from the overflow crowd–commissioners prepared to vote on the motion.

The oppostion speakers pointed out that such a move would desecrate the Sabbath, compete with evening church services, and lay a foundation “for more vicious things to come” (nothing specific was mentioned.) One Methodist preacher proclaimed that “some folk would vote to repeal the Ten Commandments if they could.” On the other hand, the pro-movie crowd pointed out that Sunday night movies would offer wholesome entertainment for the soldiers stationed at Camp Barkeley as well as for Abilenians compelled to leave town each Sabbath heading for Sweetwater or Baird to buy beer and take in a flick.

Following the tense public debate, it came time to vote. Commissioners decided 3-1 to dim the lights and let the reels roll on Sunday night. Following the vote, one anti-movie protestor rebuked the commsissioners, “We lost, but we’ll remember it on election day!”

Top photo credit: on Visualhunt

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