The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter of complaint to City Hall in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania following their closing “in observance of Good Friday.”
While conducting business in City Hall in Wilkes-Barre on Thursday April 17, I encountered a notice reading “City hall and all departments except for mandatory services will be closed Friday, April 18, 2014 in observance of Good Friday” signed by City Clerk Jim Ryan. My time-sensitive business was delayed because I needed to speak with a city official who — because of the Good Friday closing — would not be available tomorrow.
Rather than simply closing City Hall for a non-religious purpose, Wilkes-Barre City Clerk Jim Ryan authorized a sign noting that City Hall will close “in observance of Good Friday” — an explicitly Christian holiday — inconveniencing citizens and showing preferential treatment toward members of Christian faiths. Why is city government in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania recognizing a non-federal religious holiday?
I informed the Freedom From Religion Foundation about this sign [and, in the past, many issues in which the City of Wilkes-Barre is entangled with religion, listed below] and the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter of complaint to City Hall in Wilkes-Barre naming Mayor Thomas Leighton.
The letter is embedded below and also available here: Wilkes-Barre, PA.
The FFRF continues to do fine work not only in Pennsylvania, but also throughout the United States. Consider donating to and joining the FFRF – an organization which works with individual activists defending the separation of church and state.
As months go by, religion continues to creep into Pennsylvania’s government proceedings. Whether lawmakers attempt to mandate public schools display “In God We Trust,” mayors consider the free speech of atheists “unfortunate,” city councils initiate government-led prayer at council meetings, house representatives approve/introduce “The Year of the Bible” legislation, Prayer Month legislation, The Year of Religious Diversity legislation, an attempt to remove anonymity from individuals engaging in lawsuits to uphold the separation of church and state, an attempt to criminalize “profane discourse” outside houses of worship, National Fast Day legislation, or American Religious History Week legislation, Pennsylvania lawmakers continue to erode the wall separating church and state. The list sadly continues to grow.
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