Tennessee Town Considers Sunday Park Closing

Two city officials in Tennessee have suggested closing a public park on Sunday for religious reasons.

Alderman Darrell Leftwich of White House, Tenn., asked the city administrator to draft an ordinance barring sporting events on Sunday mornings at Municipal Park. Leftwich complained of seeing events on his way to church on Sunday morning.

“God our Father intended the seventh day to be one of rest and worship,” Leftwich said at a September board meeting. He was especially peeved about a soccer tournament, which had apparently been drawing large numbers of people on several Sunday mornings.

“At my church,” he said, “several people brought up the tournament. In their opinion and mine, I feel like we should establish hours for our parks.”

According to The Tennessean, Nashville’s daily, others on the board noted that not all religious groups view the sabbath the same way, noting that “the seventh day of the week is Saturday.” Mayor John Decker also brushed aside the discussion, urging the board to move on to other business.

A couple of days later The Tennessean’s editorial page said such an ordinance, if eventually brought up, should be defeated. Citing a comment from the executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, the newspaper noted “citizens – not governments – get to determine how to spend their time in this country.”