An issue of time

dlsDaylight-saving time in Indiana is a long debated issue that can destroy families, ruin relationships and divide political parties. As my good friend Daniel Bradley wrote, “frightened residents” will “take to the streets in horror, turning cars, setting fires and looking to the sky for the Four Horsemen.”

If you haven’t already figured it out, we both write in jest for the purpose of dramatization, but it is necessary to demonstrate the gravity with which so many in our home state of Indiana consider the issue.

Most Hoosiers, upon leaving the state for a time, return speaking of the wonders of the daytime-saving tweak of the clock in April, but many within the state see no use for the twice-a-year clock change. Governor Mitch Daniels’ few years away as President Bush’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget must have converted him to the idea, because he made it a key part of his political platform and at last did what many in the state consider a political miracle: convince Indiana’s elected representatives to adopt the policy.

But not all is all in the basketball state. Stormy horrors hit downtown Indianapolis on Sunday — the first day the daylight policy had been enacted. This on a day that is supposed to be the calm before the storm, the time in between the NCAA Men’s Basketball semifinal and final game of what was a disappointingly unexciting Final Four in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson has yet to blame the time change for the storm that has the city’s downtown in gridlock — and for the sake of the city’s reputation, I desperately hope no one seriously suggests that. It would not surprise me, considering the tone of Robert King’s A1 article in Sunday’s Indianapolis Star, which describes the massive struggles religious Hoosiers will have to undergo with the time change:

Daylight-saving time’s later sunsets will test the devotion of those whose worship services follow the sun rather than the clock.

Muslims at some local mosques will change the start of their Friday worship services for the first time in more than 30 years.

Jews who strictly observe the Sabbath will get a later start than usual, cutting more deeply into their Saturday night social time.

And Christians will have to roll out of bed earlier today to get to church on time. At least one minister hopes the extra evening daylight will be given to God.

“This is new territory for us,” said East 91st Street Christian Church pastor Derek Duncan. “Obviously this hasn’t happened in forever.”

dsl2The article is religiously diverse, appropriately, and considering that the only struggle Christians suffer due to the time change is getting up an hour earlier, King probably gave them a bit too much attention, making them out to be persecuted churchgoers thanks to the time change.

Being from the great state of Indiana, I am aware that this is a huge deal for Hoosiers. As an intern in the editorial department, I wrote one of the first editorials in the Star in 2002 supporting the move toward daylight-saving time, and suffered in the reader backlash.

But Indianapolis media organizations, particularly the Star as the city’s major media outlet, must start giving their readers some perspective, particularly in this particular case. Memo to Indiana media outlets: Muslims, Jews and Christians all over the country (and in many other parts of the world) get by just fine with a time change twice a year, and it’s really not that big a deal.

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  • Carl

    I wish that DST were abolished, and in it’s place the government just required schools, TV stations, and government offices to open and close an hour earlier from April through October. It would be a lot easier, and wouldn’t require fiddling with the VCR.

  • Rev. C.S. Esget

    DST IS a big deal for Christians on the margins. As a pastor, I have noticed that every year Scripture Study and Divine Service attendance is noticably lower on the Sunday of DST. This year we had a drop-off of 33%. Coming during Lent or Easter, I loathe DST for giving the people one more temptation to weakness (and that’s what it is: temptation, not persecution; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak) at a time when they should be ramping up their devotion. Of course, I get to find out who the most faithful (or perhaps responsible) are, so maybe it does have its benefits…

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  • Daniel

    Here in Dubois County, Ind. weare one of the rare parts of the state moved to Central time though this is still in dispute and many are seeking a repetition to the Feds to get us back on Eastern.

    it’s amazing the accusations and claims that come from an hours difference. Everything from kids getting fatter b/c they’ll be inside an hour earlier to more cases of skin cancer when the sun’s out longer.

    Our church noticed about a 10 person difference (a normal attendance of 250).

    As a native of Tennessee and a transplant to Indiana, I’m watching all of this with amusement and a lot of head-scratching.

  • Avram

    In Israel, up until last year, the extent of Daylight Saving Time (or “summer clock”) depended on which party controlled the Ministry of the Interior. The secularists wanted it to start early and last late into autumn, while the religious groups wanted it to start after Passover and end before Yom Kippur (usually in September).

    Last year they passed a law setting the start date according to the international Gregorian calendar (the last Friday before April 2) and the end date according to the traditional Jewish calendar (the Sunday between Rosh Hasanna and Yom Kippur).

  • Elle

    DST made sense when we were a more agrarian nation. But I don’t see the need for it now.

    Personally, I do not enjoy having to adjust my personal “clock” (meaning my own sense of time) twice a year because of the time change. I dislike “getting up an hour later” in the fall as much as I dislike “getting up an hour earlier” in the spring. It usually takes me at least a week to make the adjustment and feel productive. The fact that the spring adjustment occurs during Lent irritates me all the more. We used to make the change at the end of April (after Easter). How many years ago did it move to the first Sunday?

    I used to dream of moving to Indiana so that I would not have to make this adjustment twice a year. So much for that….

  • Mike the Geek

    I’ve hated daylight savings time since I was a teenager in Houston back in the 60′s (the glory days of open freeways, driver’s licenses at 14, muscle cars, and quarter-a-gallon gas). I remember when it first went in. You’d go out for a date in the “cool of the evening” and it would be 90+ in blazing sunshine. Maybe they need to save daylight in Alaska – I always figured we had plenty.

  • Carl Vehse

    From _Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences_, by John Allen Paulos (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1988):

    “There was once a state legislator in Wisconsin who objected to the introduction of daylight saving time despite all the good arguments for it. He maintained sagely that there is always a trade-off involved in the adoption of any policy, and that if daylight saving time were instituted, curtains and other fabrics would fade more quickly.”

  • Carl

    I was offended at the overt bigotry displayed in this post. I have enjoyed reading this blog and have recommended it to others. I have even commented a time or two.

    I am not so sure this will continue in the future.

    Not an exciting final four? This, the greatest basketball series in the history of the great state of Florida was regarded as uninteresting?

    You sir, should stick to religion and reporting.

    For Shame!

    Gator alum