• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Outside the Beltway: Good Friday is Still Good Friday. Thank God.

    Do Christians have civil rights? Earlier this week, citizens of Davenport, Iowa were informed that City Administrator Craig Malin planned to change the name of Good Friday to “Spring Holiday” on official city documents, per the recommendation of the Davenport Civil Rights Commission. After the city and state grew appropriately outraged, the decision was reversed and Mayor Bill Gluba pled that the city move on to “more important issues.” But, this issue might in fact be the most important.

    Over the course of the past several decades, political correctness has been applied to protect the rights of communities experiencing discrimination, and that can be appreciated. The inclination to not offend your fellow man is as natural as wanting to catch someone who is falling. It’s inherent in us. But at what point do the scales tip, and the balance of political correctness shift towards infringing upon the rights of many, and their own civil liberties, for the supposed protection of a few? In Davenport, the scales aren’t just tipped, they’ve gone missing.

    Good Friday is one of the holiest days of the year for Christians. It marks the day Jesus Christ was crucified. And on the Sunday afterwards, Christians celebrate Easter, rejoicing in his resurrection. You do not have to be a Christian to understand how important these days are to those who worship the faith.

    Imagine if this Davenport incident had been about the Jewish observance of Passover which often coincides with Easter, or the Muslim observance of Ramadan, which is also celebrated across our land of religious liberty. The outcries would have been louder, and the claims would’ve included an assault on the motives of the person responsible. Were the decision-makers bigoted? Were they anti-Semitic? But in this case, it is actually a “Civil Rights Commission” making these ridiculously un-American assaults on a religion. The motive automatically gets accepted as benign.

    So what is the purpose of the “Civil Rights Commission”? Is it designed to protect the liberties of a few at the expense of most, or should it be empowered to protect the rights of all, even against the outcries of a few? In Davenport’s case, it was created in 1962, and given enforcement power in 1974 to protect all persons from discrimination. So in other words, what began as a noble effort is now a tragedy of unintended consequences.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech: “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.” This does not sound like a man convinced that Christianity should be pushed from the public square.

    King went further: “…we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” Again, the civil rights icon of the twentieth century was not advocating for protection from religion, but rather a peaceful coexistence rooted in its core philosophies on display to all.

    The Davenport “Civil Rights Commission” told reporters that they “had no plans to change the name of ‘Easter Sunday’ because it fell on a weekend and government offices were already closed.” Never before had Jesus’ resurrection being celebrated on a Sunday seemed so convenient. They had “discussed changing Christmas” but decided against it when they determined enough religions celebrate Christmas. The Christmas-celebrating, Easter-ignoring theologians must only live in Davenport.

    During Holy Week, it is easy to forgive the transgressions of those on the Davenport Commission. For Christians, it is imperative. But it is also imperative that we protect the rights of all those who wish to worship as they see fit; even against those who demand that worship be hidden from public view. Our nation was founded on principles that demand that all men are created equal. The easiest way towards equality is not to ignore the differences that make America great, but to embrace a nation that is welcoming to faith, freedom and civil society.

    This article was originally published by The Daily Caller, here. You can follow Rory Cooper on Twitter @rorycooper.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Outside the Beltway: Good Friday is Still Good Friday. Thank God.

    1. MJF, CT says:

      Why is it so hard to understand that this great nation was founded on religious freedom? Our forefathers left England and other countries BECAUSE of religious persecution and limits to their freedom of worship. The Constitution has nothing, NOTHING in it that limits religious freedom. The Constitution actually forbids the government from putting limits on the freedom of religion and states that the government will not establish a religion as England and other countries did in the past. Why is this so hard to understand?

    2. Brad, Chicago says:

      The only religion whose right to practice is not protected by "civil liberties" people is Christianity. It is impossible to completely separate church and state. Any religious person has morals influenced by their religion (although we often question this in the cases of many politicians). Using the name of a holiday does not mean the government is celebrating it or endorsing it. It is simple recognition of the day's significance to a group of people. If you can't refer to Christian holidays, don't refer to the holidays of any other religion; that would only be fair.

    3. NCM, Indiana says:

      Perhaps the richest part of this all is what the title implies, to wit, that inside the Beltway Good Friday is not still Good Friday. Here at The Foundry, you impugn — rightly — those who would rename Good Friday all while The Heritage Foundation will be, what? Oh, that's right, open on Good Friday.

      How unsurprisingly unconversative; well, I shall spend the day commemorating the Crucifixion, whilst my taxpayer-funded office is closed on a paid holiday in observance.

    4. Viviana says:

      Wonderful Great Write…very inspiring the Kings ‘I have dream” …indeed yes there is! thoughtfully anew “American Holyday” for all people to Celebrate it is “Thank god is Friday” with Kosher Shabbat with Muslims’ Holy Fridays Prayers and Christians Buddhist can be a great Divine Spark for all the World to Celebrate this Holy Day of Friday in “Thanking God” with prayers Music and food…that is one great Coming of God in Light of the Messianic Future

    5. MJS, Texas says:

      Please research how the Soviet Union secularized the old Russian holidays and traditions. Christmas became the Winter Holidays, St, Nicholas / Santa Claus became Ded Moros (Grandfather Frost). He delivered holiday gifts, too. Knowing that the People need their holidays, Soviet leaders didn't abolish the events. They kept the appropriate dates and gave them secular names, removing the religious references and reasons for the seasons.

    6. Andrew, Arlington VA says:

      It's not just in Iowa where "Spring Holiday" is coming up. Apparently, the public schools in Arlington, VA — just over the river from DC — recognize it as well.


    7. Todd, Albany OR says:

      I used to work for a 50-billion dollar US company that, shortly after I arrived there in 2000, decided to eliminate the Easter paid holiday so they could provide a paid holiday to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

      I've often wondered what he would have thought of that.

    8. Tammy says:

      This is very interesting. Just like the many other ways Jesus is being pushed out of society. Alas, just like in Egypt…we grow stronger! http://www.specklesoffaith.com

    9. Pingback: The Absurd Report » Good Friday is Still Good Friday. Thank God.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.