Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Iowa Town Renames Good Friday to Spring Holiday

In Davenport, Iowa, a town of about 100,000 citizens along the Mississippi River, a controversy has arisen over Good Friday. That 2000-year-old holiday has appeared on the city calendar in the past.

Based on a recommendation by the Davenport Civil Rights Commission, the city decided that Good Friday should be changed to a more generic name, and they chose Spring Holiday. The City Administrator made the change without consulting the city council. However, a vote of the whole council is required for such a change in policy, so this broke the rules.

Why did the Commission make the recommendation? They say it is because our Constitution requires "separation of church and state." This, of course, is a broad metaphor not found in the Constitution and is often mis-used, which I believe it was in this case.

Having Good Friday on the calendar is simply a recognition of centuries of traditions and is even written in to the union contracts for the city. It does not establish an official religion nor does it compel citizens to worship in a particular way. The fact is that this day off would not exist were it not for Good Friday. It varies from year to year based on where Good Friday falls. Renaming it as a "cover" seems a little disingenuous.

The town council has decided to restore the original name, partly because of a tremendous uproar from the citizens.

Read the story here:

Iowa Town Renames Good Friday to 'Spring Holiday'

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