Does this look a notice from (1) a government office or (2) a church office?
It turns out it is (1). The Sun Prairie Utilities in Sun Prairie, WI, that decided to close tomorrow. It also turns out that closing an government for religious reasons is illegal.
Fortunately, the Freedom From Religion Foundation jumped on the case and got them to remove the crown of thorns (round 1) and later remove mention of Good Friday (round 2). SPU is still “Closed on Friday April 18” but not for stated religious reasons, which is closer to acceptable.
Jump over the Port Authority of Allegheny County. What do you find? They will be close their Downtown Service Center in observance of the (Good Friday) holiday. Also, their sacred Twitter account will not be staffed on Good Friday. Yup. No good news from PAT on Friday.
In posting these messages, PAT is ignoring the law. On the FFRF website, they point out
Every spring, the Foundation receives complaints from members who cannot access public libraries on that day, cannot pay water bills because municipal and county offices are closed, or who cannot access the courthouses or other valuable government services. Good Friday is … a purely Christian holiday commemorating the legendary death of the Christian messiah. “It is a day of solemn religious observance, and nothing else, for believing Christians, and no one else.” Metzl v. Leininger, 57 F.3d 618, 620 (7th Cir. 1995).
Of all governmental groups, the Port Authority should know better. They are facing a lawsuit for disallowing a local atheist group to put a billboards on the buses and have since decided that no religious messages of any kind, including the word Bible, are allowed to appear on bus ads.
To have that public organization closed because it is “Good Friday” in someone’s religious book is inappropriate. PAT needs to remove the religious reference from its website. Even better would be to not close its service center at all, but instead provide services and tweets to its riders on April 18, 2014, which is just another Friday in my book.