Story: Atheism and secularism

Keeping Sundays sacred

Keeping Sundays sacred

This postcard shows a policeman shining his torch on a wowser (a slang term for an overly judgemental and prudish person) who has crossed out many popular aspects of Sunday life on a blackboard, leaving only church, compulsory prayers, collections, church bazaars, cold water and scandal. The card was used to lobby people to vote against prohibition in the first national alcohol licensing referendum, held in 1911. Although prohibition received 55.8% of the vote, it needed 60% support to be introduced. Rationalists and many others disagreed with church-inspired restrictions on recreational and social activities on Sundays.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PUBL-0220-5
Cartoon by Ercildoune Frederick Hiscocks

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Atheism and secularism - A Christian legacy', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 April 2024)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 4 Apr 2018