This week Tesco apologised for an advert that promoted the drinking of alcohol on Good Friday. It is the latest attempt to commercialise a religious holiday which, along with Christmas Day, predates the Bank Holidays Act of 1871. It is the most solemn occasion in the church’s calendar, marking the crucifixion of Jesus. In recent years, businesses such as Tesco have opposed trading restrictions, football matches have been played and religious street processions shortened.
According to the 2011 census there were 33.2 million Christians in the United Kingdom, about 59% of the population. That’s more than voted for Brexit and nearly three times the number who voted for the current government. The vibrant celebration of festivals from all faiths is testament to the success of multi-culturalism but Good Friday has been forgotten with surveys indicating that many children do not know why it is commemorated.
If we want to keep Good Friday as a public holiday we need to respect, and not insult, the beliefs of those who chose to worship. Alternatively create another day to buy chocolate and alcohol. How about Brexit Day to celebrate intolerance?