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By David Waters
The good and God-fearing citizens of Davenport, Iowa, can rest easy this Good Friday in the Year of Our Lord 2010. Local government officials are not — we repeat NOT — plotting to replace the traditional holiday heretofore known as Good Friday with the more generic and secular Spring Holiday.
Earlier this week, City Administrator Craig Malin confessed to reporters that an e-mail to that effect sent by his office was sent by mistake. “We’ve never officially changed anything,” Malin said.
Malin traced the maliciousness to last summer when the Davenport Civil Rights Commission suggested that the city consider calling the holiday something not associated with a religion. Malin said he forwarded that recommendation to his staff for review, but somehow, months later, the recommendation was resurrected as a fact in a widely distributed e-mail.
Chairman Tim Hart told reporters that the Civil Rights Commission recommended changing the name of the city holiday to avoid offending anyone. Many found themselves offended nonetheless.
“In a word, it’s nuts,” Alderman Bill Edmond told the Des Moines Register, finding a way to turn a memo into a mountain. “Why should a small percentage of the population tell the majority of the population not to celebrate a holiday because it’s religious? Should I say I don’t like celebrating St. Patrick’s Day because I’m not Irish?”
Neither St. Patrick’s Day nor Green Beer Day are official city holidays in Davenport, and they are unlikely to become ones.
Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba said the naming or renaming of holidays will not be on the city’s agenda anytime soon. “We’ve just got more important things to deal with.”
Some church-state separatists might disagree with him, but not me. For the religious and the non-religious, any Friday holiday is a Good Friday.