ShareThis Page
Charleroi Council made right decision |

Charleroi Council made right decision

| Friday, March 26, 2004 12:00 a.m

Freedom of religion is one of the priceless gifts we received from our nation’s founding fathers.

It’s a gift that guarantees us the right to practice the religion of our choice without fear of governmental reprisal. It also, of course, gives us the right not to practice any religion. Simply put, it guarantees our right to choose.

Charleroi Borough Council correctly endorsed that concept earlier this month, when it rejected a request to ask borough merchants to close their stores on Good Friday from noon to 3 p.m. — the time Christians believe Jesus was crucified.

While some members of council personally supported the concept, they were reluctant to put a governmental stamp of approval on something clearly more religious than secular.

Asked for his advice on the idea, borough Solicitor Dennis Paluso said he believes approving the request could be construed as a violation of separation of church and state.

The words “separation of church and state” are not found in the U.S. Constitution, but were first used by Thomas Jefferson in 1802, when he answered a letter from the Danbury Baptist Association asking why he would not proclaim national days of fasting and thanksgiving, as had been done by Washington and Adams before him.

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions,” Jefferson wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”

The nation’s courts have since used the establishment clause of the First Amendment to rule that a separation of church and state must exist.

After borough council rejected the Good Friday proposal, Mayor Ed Paluso said it used to be a tradition that borough merchants close their doors between noon and 3 p.m. that day.

Some merchants still observe that tradition, Main Street Manager Donn Henderson said, adding, “I think it’s totally up to the employer and their employees.”

So do we.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.