Some holidays are secular, like the Fourth of July or President's Day. It doesn't bother me when businesses close on a genuinely national holiday.
But Easter? It's a purely Christian day, a celebration of Jesus supposedly being resurrected from the dead.
I don't believe in any sort of God, including the Christian variety. Naturally I also don't believe that Jesus was the Son of God, nor that he came back to life after being dead.
Lots of other people have different reasons for not viewing Easter as any sort of special day. Many embrace some other religion.
So why does our athletic club have a sign on the front desk saying it will be closed all day next Sunday?
My wife, an increasingly bold atheist (if you're a Jehovah's Witness, my strong advice is not to knock on our door when she's home), asked this question to the front desk staffer a few days ago.
She said something like, "We aren't Christians. Many other members aren't either. They're atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, or whatever. I don't get why all of us can't use the club on a day that has meaning only to Christians. If some club staff member wants to go to an Easter Sunday service, seemingly they could trade shifts with some other staffer, or arrange to work another day."
Not surprisingly, my wife didn't get a cogent response. The person at the front desk doesn't set club policies; they just work there.
This isn't a huge deal for us.
It just shows how deeply engrained in American culture the Christian religion is. Hopefully one day businesses won't close their doors on a day devoted to the worship of an imaginary God whose imaginary Son experienced an imaginary resurrection from the dead.
We live in an awkward in-between time of human history.
Knowledge of reality through science and the scientific method has never been greater. Yet most people still cling to pre-scientific fantasies about supernatural beings, life after death, heavenly realms, and such.
I'm totally fine with people believing in whatever they want, even if there is no demonstrable evidence for the belief. However, when their unsubstantiated faith-based belief interferes with the ability of other people to live their own lives as they want, we have a problem.
Again, my wife and I not being to use our athletic club on Easter Sunday isn't going to ruin our lives. It just is an example of the power of religiosity to control people who don't believe in any religion.
If somebody wants to go to a church service on Easter, that's great. Go for it. It isn't what I want to do, but just as I don't expect Christians to like what I like, I'm fine with Christians having their own likes.
What bothers me is society as a whole -- including our athletic club in particular -- unduly elevating the likes of Christians above the likes of everybody else. I like to exercise on Sunday. If a national secular holiday falls on a Sunday, then I readily accept if a business wants to close its doors on that day.
Easter, though, is a special day only for Christians. My wife asked the front desk person at our club if they will be closing at any time during Ramadan this year, a holy month for Muslims. No big surprise: the club won't be.