FFRF sends complaint following Wilkes-Barre Good Friday observance

Sign posted outside City Hall in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Sign posted outside City Hall in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

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.

FFRF letter objecting to Good Friday observance

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.

Consider commenting below.

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 to be “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 seeking to uphold the separation of church and state, an attempt to criminalize “profane discourse” outside houses of worshipNational 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. – See more at: http://justinvacula.com/2014/04/22/response-criticisms-national-day-prayer-protest/#sthash.7NubJhCD.dpuf
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 to be “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 seeking to uphold the separation of church and state, an attempt to criminalize “profane discourse” outside houses of worshipNational 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. – See more at: http://justinvacula.com/2014/04/22/response-criticisms-national-day-prayer-protest/#sthash.7NubJhCD.dpuf
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 to be “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 seeking to uphold the separation of church and state, an attempt to criminalize “profane discourse” outside houses of worshipNational 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. – See more at: http://justinvacula.com/2014/04/22/response-criticisms-national-day-prayer-protest/#sthash.7NubJhCD.dpuf

Justin Vacula

Justin Vacula hosts the Stoic Philosophy Podcast; serves as co-organizer and spokesperson for the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Freethought Society; and hosts monthly Stoic Philosophy discussion groups for the Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia. He has appeared on and hosted various radio shows and podcasts; participated in formal debates and discussions; was a guest speaker for college-level courses; was featured in local, national, and international news; and has been invited to speak at various national, local, and statewide events. Vacula received bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, a minor in Professional Writing, and the distinguished W.A. Kilburn Memorial Award for Philosophy from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is pursuing a degree in Marywood University’s graduate-level Mental Health Counseling program and formerly worked for the Arc of Luzerne County’s Transition to Community Employment program as a teacher’s assistant and job coach alongside adult learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He also plays poker; volunteers as a member of the website and media team for the Greyhawk Reborn Dungeons & Dragons campaign and plays at events in the Eastern United States; and enjoys metal music.