A new study by economists shows a profound correlation between deaths of despair and the repeal of blue laws.
Casey Chalk was of like mind! 2020 article: https://www.crisismagazine.com/2020/bring-back-the-blue-laws
"[T]hat law is a teacher, and sometimes teaches what is false and demonstrably bad for a people." This is the key. Moral judgments must be made; proscriptions must be enacted. Morality and ethical behavior must be woven into the law. The liberal mindset that you can't "legislate morality" is incoherent. A lack of moral components inscribed in the law by no means indicates a moral logic isn't propagated by society. Smoke as much pot as you want, drink as much you want (any day of the week), watch as much porn as you want--certainly this is legislating morality.
In my old homeland 10K away, I recall as a child hearing about "blue laws" in the '60s, having no idea what they meant. That was about the time they got rid of them over there, too.
I think you're absolutely right about the ill repercussions of repealing these blue laws. Sunday was no longer sacred, and shopping to excess, or just window shopping (distracted by indulging in desires) took the place of worship, removing that invaluable time dedicated to God. Church was just another activity to fill (or waste, to others) one's time just like any other. Encouraging materialism while pooh-poohing prayer and a set time for God. The introduction of the Saturday vigil not merely as an option in case of need but as an alternative to Sunday Mass also minimized the value of holy worship on Sunday. (To be sure, not everyone in the pews even in the "old" days was truly devout, but that structure giving importance and value to Sunday Mass gave society the benefits of religion and a more intact family, since people went to Mass most often as families.)
And now, it's 24 hour/7days a week shopping with online vendors "open" all the time.
Much of the current discourse about the seeming 'decline' of 'religion' has been grounded in the conventional Western European Christian distinction between religion and 'secularity,' the latter term supposedly about 'non-belief, whereas, i n fact , the term refers to the inherent changeability of beliefs of any kind, as well as the artifice of social customs: religion as a mode of artistry; among a wide variety of social customs that might exist at a given time. It also concerns the theoretical or philosophical proof: linking a belief in an immaterial force or 'being' (like a divinity). I've addressed these issues at length in my books Art / Religion / Amnesia: The Enchantments of Credulity (Routledge, 2014)and the earlier Brain of the Earth's Body about the phantasms of modernity (Minnesota, 2003). The entire set of issues about religion and its proper / improper place in a society began as 'Plato's Dilemma' 2400 years BCE. His epistemological / philosophical dilemma was that the only way you could appear to 'guarantee' or 'justify' a particular social custom or practice was to tie the sensate / material world to an immaterial (and hence in effect, seemingly un-accountable) realm of existence. This was clearly understood by the (now retired) western Christian pope Benedict XVI, a self-proclaimed 'champion' of the arts, precisely because their 'insufficiencies' called forth a desire for the eternal and unchanging realm of perfection. A kind of cosmic double-bind, which Plato understood. Plato's 'solution' wasn't something extra-artistic, but more, 'better' art, that which appeared to be in synch with the 'divine' order of the universe. In other words, Plato clearly appreciated that by its very nature, art fundamentally problematized the seemingly irreconcilable distinction between 'fact' & 'fiction.' Which is why in his ideal community, representational or expressive art should be banished because it confused ordinary citizen subjects about what was truthful. Hannah Arendt wrote extensively about the nature of modern authoritarianisms as being grounded fundamentally in the desire for aesthetic consistency: in effect, that a community should be organized as a work of art. It comes as no surprise that state-sanctioned religion or spirituality - where the state is fabricated so as to meld religion and politics (theocracy) as in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Orban's Hungary, etc., has led to and continues to lead to totalitarian politics.
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
Hold on a second. "Blue laws", as I understand them, are the brainchild of the progressives. They were anti-Catholic in bent, and reflected the post-millennial pietism that animated the progressives.
In a free society, any number of authorities can forbid the sale of alcohol on a Sunday. But can that really be imposed by monopoly coercion on otherwise law abiding Christians trading upon their own properties? I would say no. The common good is not served by "saving people from themselves."