Citing the Separation of Church and State, Davenport Nixes Holy Day
By RUSSELL GOLDMAN
March 29, 2010—
One week before the most solemn day in the Christian year, the city of Davenport, Iowa removed Good Friday from its municipal calendar, setting off a storm of complaints from Christians and union members whose contracts give them that day off.
Taking a recommendation by the Davenport Civil Rights Commission to change the holiday's name to something more ecumenical, City Administrator Craig Malin sent a memo to municipal employees announcing Good Friday would officially be known as "Spring Holiday."
"My phone has been ringing off the hook since Saturday," said city council alderman Bill Edmond. "People are genuinely upset because this is nothing but political correctness run amok."
Edmond said the city administrator made the change unilaterally and did not bring it to the council for a vote, a requirement for a change in policy.
"The city council didn't know anything about the change. We were blind sided and now we've got to clean this mess up. How do you tell people the city renamed a 2,000 year old holiday?" said Edmond.
It didn't take long for the city the resurrect the name Good Friday. Malin was overruled today and the words "Spring Holiday" disappeared.
Good Friday commemorates the day Jesus was crucified and died. Christians celebrate his resurrection the following Sunday, Easter.
The Civil Rights Commission said it recommended changing the name to better reflect the city's diversity and maintain a separation of church and state when it came to official municipal holidays.
"We merely made a recommendation that the name be changed to something other than Good Friday," said Tim Hart, the commission's chairman. "Our Constitution calls for separation of church and state. Davenport touts itself as a diverse city and given all the different types of religious and ethnic backgrounds we represent, we suggested the change."
News of the change could not have come at more significant time in the Christian calendar. News of the name change spread through the town on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, becoming a topic of conversation at church services throughout Davenport.
Davenport Dispute Over Good Friday
"If you deny the idea of Good Friday then you have to deny Easter," Monsignor Robert Schmidt told ABC affiliate WQAD.
Hart said the commission had no plans to change the name of Easter Sunday, because it fell on a weekend and government offices were already closed. The commission, he said, discussed changing Christmas, but decided enough other religions celebrate Christmas too. Hart, however, could not name one.
The religious right has attacked town governments that have removed public Christmas displays, calling such practices a "war on Christmas."
City employees, beginning with local police, feared the name change would violate their union contracts with the city, which specifies Good Friday as an official municipal holiday. Employees that work city holidays are paid time and a half.
Davenport officials called the name change an "error."
"The City of Davenport will be observing "Good Friday" as a City Holiday on April 2," read a statement released today.
"City Administrator Malin, in error, forwarded the recommendation to staff for further review and action, leading to release of a holiday notice with the holiday named 'Spring Holiday,' rather than "Good Friday," read the release.
Davenport's mayor said people were right to be angry but that Good Friday would continue to be acknowledged.
"I understand why people were so upset," said Mayor Bill Gluba. "My position is we have a lot more important issues. We'll fix this and move on."
This story was revised at 5:50pm ET
Have you ever wondered that you were breaking the law when hosting your small group? I bet these folks in Arizona and California didn't either.Print This Post
Friendly Reminder: Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday, March 14th.
Just a reminder to set your clocks ahead one hour.
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6)
18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 9to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4)
7 He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. (Proverbs 19)
13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. (Proverbs 21)
8 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." (Proverbs 31)Print This Post
The National Sleep Foundation's annual "Sleep in America" poll finds that we're not getting enough sleep. Unfortunately, not surprising given the stress from the economy and Americans' busy-ness. But the poll did bring to light some interesting findings on before-bed rituals.
When asked about activities done every night or almost every night, African-Americans were most likely to report praying or doing another religious activity (71%), having sex (10%) and watching TV (75%). Asians were least likely to pray (18%), have sex (1%) or watchÂ TV (52%). Hispanics and whites fall in the middle, every night or almost every night ...
- Praying or doing another religious activity before bed: 45% Hispanics, 32% Whites
- Having sex in the hour before bed: 10% Hispanics, 4% Whites
- Watching TV: 72% Hispanics, 64% Whites
Many adults, even those who don't pray before bed now, were taught to do so as children. Probably the best known bedtime prayer is easily memorized by kids:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
If you ever thought that "if I should die" line is sort of morbid for a 7-year-old, you're not alone. See comedian Tim Hawkins:
Some faithful pray in the morning instead of before bed, some pray only when they're moved to, some pray only in a place of worship. When, where and why DO YOU PRAY? Does it make a difference whether you kneel by the bed or simply close your eyes or hold your partner's hand while you pray? Does it make a difference whether it's morning or night? Does it make a difference whether it's a memorized prayer or not? Do you pray some nights, but not others? Did you pray as a kid but not now? Share your views and experiences below:Print This Post
Ron Still of Basic Needs (40/42) has offered to let us take items that will help out the people of Haiti. We will be meeting on Saturday to find and prepare the items for shipping. If you are able to help, please contact Kurt Ehlert for details.Print This Post
You can read the full article at FoxNews, but here is the summary:
One airline passenger became so irate that he could not claim his $15,000 winning scratch card while on board a flight that he took rather odd action — he ate his ticket.
What could turn a seemingly joyous event into rage?
How could someone have zero patience that they could not wait until the end of a flight to receive a prize?
Do you feel sad for this person? I do.Print This Post