Daylight-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.”
The 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.