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Letter: Keep county libraries open on Good Friday

Keep county libraries open on Good Friday

That this country was founded on the “general principles” of Christianity is clear. This country is also founded on religious freedom and the “strict” separation of church and state. The Constitution guarantees a citizen cannot be denied access to practicing his religion. On the other hand, with the separation of church and state, taxpayers are not expected to pay for time off for devotees to worship.

The federal government handles this situation well. Anyone is granted time off for a desired holy day. The employee may use personal days, or make up that time later with no pay. Bottom line is, a taxpayer-funded service is not closed for those days not on the official holiday closing list.

So imagine my impatience going to the Erie County Library to find it closed on Good Friday, which is a specific Christian holy day. I am not a professed Christian, however, I am a professed taxpayer standing at the closed door of a service provided by my tax dollars. Why is this? Who can fix it?

According to the county: “Good Friday is a recognized holiday pursuant to Erie County bargaining agreements and library bargaining agreements. As a result, the cost to open on that day is prohibitive. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.”

What is there to bargain about a “specific holy” day that the rest of the citizenry is left out? Both agencies have no business using this day as a bargaining chip. In a democracy, no one can bargain away a taxpayer’s rights to taxpayer-supported services based on a specific religious (non-secular) holy day.

Dakota Wolf