In the Middle Ages when the church ruled the roost, and messed up everybody’s life, they decided to make church attendance compulsory.
The poor exhausted peasantry who worked their fingers to the bone to keep the wolf from the door, and to pay their tithes (10% of all produce) to the church, couldn’t cope: their spirits may have been willing but their flesh was weak! They used to fall asleep during services. This happened to such a great extent , especially during the sermons that the Sextons often had to go up and down the aisles with long sticks in their hands prodding people to wake them up.!
Failure to turn up for the Sunday service was a criminal offence and was punished by the civil authorities.