By Emily Geiger
As most of you hopefully know, last week was Holy Week, the culmination of the Lenten season and the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the opportunity for eternal salvation.
And, it was Holy Week that led one little ol’ Iowa town to make national news. Well, actually, I think Davenport has a few hundred thousand people, so it probably qualifies as a city, but I digress.
As you may have heard, some city officials in Davenport caused quite a ruckus when a memo went out saying that the city should refer to last Friday as a “Spring Holiday” for which city workers had the day off, rather than “Good Friday.”
As you can imagine, when this was made public, many people were upset at yet another example of the secularization of American society. Once the story went national, obviously, a lot of outsiders were upset, but it seems that the local residents were equally, if not more, outraged.
Davenport is quite Catholic, so I wonder if that has anything to do with the uproar. But why is everyone so upset about this, when we all know that Christmas has been beaten with the political correctness bat for decades now?
I think part of the difference is that Christmas is so commercialized that people don’t get as worked up over the secularization of it. But Good Friday/Easter is still very much a religious holiday. It is at the very heart of the Christian belief of salvation. It’s one thing to dismiss a holiday that essentially celebrates a birthday. It’s another thing altogether to make light of a holiday that is about suffering and self-sacrifice. So, to have Good Friday confiscated and secularized seems more offensive.
Thankfully, the Davenport officials relented and agreed to keep the holiday as “Good Friday.” I find it a bit ironic that there even has to be an argument about this. A holiday, by definition, is a “holy day.” A secular “holiday” is an oxymoron. There really is no such thing. You can have a secular day of celebration for something, like, say, President’s Day, but that’s not really a “holiday.”
There’s also probably another reason this story made national headlines. It’s been a bit of a slow news cycle lately since the health care thing passed. If there were a hurricane or an earthquake somewhere in the Western hemisphere, I doubt it would have made national news.
I do think it is possible that Davenport might have gotten a bit of a bad rap in this whole thing. They claim that this name change was only a recommendation by the city’s Civil Rights Commission that had not been adopted by anyone with any power or authority to change the name. They say that it was a mistake that this memo was even sent out given that this was really only an unofficial recommendation.
At least Davenport gives their employees Good Friday off. I know several cities/businesses who don’t give their employees any time off at Easter. Of course, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t keep an eye on them in the future.
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