Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Freedom of Religion - Part 4

Does a Hawaii law declaring Good Friday to be a legal holiday violate the first amendment's nonestablishment of religion clause? No, concluded a federal district court. The court observed: "The primary purpose of the statute which establishes Good Friday as a legal holiday was to increase the number and frequency of legal holidays. This purpose is clearly secular. The court also finds that the primary effect of the statute is secular. The Good Friday holiday allows the people of Hawaii to play or pray as they see fit. Even the plaintiffs concede that many more people can be found in Hawaii's parks and shopping malls on Good Friday than can be found in its churches. Moreover, this court's finding that Good Friday is similar in nature to Thanksgiving and Christmas provides additional ground for insulating the Good Friday holiday from a successful constitutional challenge. Just as Christmas and Thanksgiving are permissible because of their partially secular observations and because they provide a uniform day of rest and relaxation for Americans, Good Friday has attained a secular position in this nation's traditional fabric and provides citizens of Hawaii with a uniform day of rest." Cammack v. Waihee, 673 F. Supp. 1525 (D. Hawaii 1987).

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