Earlier in November, Tweed Tastic owner Leona Rawlinson got an interesting package — a Bible, accompanied by a letter warning her that if she remains open on Sundays, some Christians in their tiny town may boycott them.
“The purpose of our letter is certainly not to intimidate you into closing on Sunday… nor are we aware of any organised campaign in relation to this matter,” a letter from Dan McPhail, a fellow resident on Scotland’s Isle of Lewis, read. “However, it is a sincere and humble request that you consider closing the shop on the Lord’s Day.”
As Hemant Mehta at Patheos’ Friendly Atheist writes, McPhail’s letter to Rawlison, which he wrote as part of his work as secretary of the Lord’s Day Observance Society (a Christian group that lobbies for no work on the Christian Sabbath), had unintended consequences.
As Rawlinson’s partner Martin Flett noted on Facebook, members of their small community have been supportive following the Bible-mailing incident.
“Lots of lovely people have called into the shop to offer support, people of faith and no faith alike,” Flett wrote. “The resounding message, over and over again, has been that this is not about religion, it is about controlling behaviour. By a tiny sanctimonious minority that professes to speak for the island but in reality only speaks for its narrow fundamentalist interpretation of Christianity. That is a topic in itself, and I may return to it later.”
As Mehta noted, McPhail’s mailed Bible wasn’t the first time a visitor to Tweed Tastic harassed the store owner for staying open on Sunday, but they were not able to intimidate Rawlinson and Flett (who also owns a shop in the same space) from staying open on Sundays.