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Don’t Display Your Faith In This County

by | Wed, Dec 7 2022

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The Washington State County that takes in the city of Seattle has banned the depiction of any religious symbols by staff working from home.

They cannot be within sight of their computer cameras for work-related zoom calls and video chats.

The edict came in a memo to all King County employees warning them against displaying religious holiday decorations at work .

It read in part:

“Some employees may not share your religion, practice any religion, or share your enthusiasm for holiday decorations. Displays of religious symbols may only be displayed in an employee’s personal workspace. Religious symbols should not be displayed in or as a background to an employee’s virtual workspace.”

The memo claimed the county was committed to honouring the diversity in its workforce but its timing was clearly aimed at Christians as well as Jews celebrating Hanukkah.

The ban also covers symbols of Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Baha’i faiths.

The Family Policy Institute writes: “If a business or county does not permit its employees to show the fact that they hold varying sets of beliefs, they are not actually concerned with diversity – they are mandating conformity.”

“They want diversity without differences; an employee-base which acts, thinks, and believes alike, but has different skin tones. What is the value of diversity if none of the differences that make us individuals can be shown?”

Talk show host Jason Rantz reacted to the memo by noting: “You can celebrate LGBT Pride and wear a Black Lives Matter button throughout your day as a King County employee. But you better not show a nativity set or menorah on your digital workspace or your home office.”

General counsel for religious freedom advocate First Liberty Hiram Sasser writes that the Communist hammer and sickle is also apparently still allowed.

In a column for Fox News he proclaimed that the “bureaucratic drive to eradicate all individualism and creativity and replace it with a bland, dystopian landscape glorifying secularism seems to have no limits.”

“What once was cast as an effort to protect the feelings of those of minority faiths now reveals its true self — acknowledgement of anything beyond the temporal is forbidden.”

In reference to the King County policy Mr. Sasser reflected: “It was never about Christmas, as such. The State, personified as the faceless bureaucrat who wrote this bizarre policy, dislikes any challenges to its ultimate power and authority, especially any acknowledgement that there is some level of spiritual authority that transcends the State itself.”

The First Liberty lawyer observed that the US Civil Rights Act forbids the kind of workplace discrimination enacted by King County.

He argues under that Act employers must accommodate the religious practices of their employees unless doing so causes an undue hardship on the business.

He concludes the County’s edict is a serious infringement on the religious freedom of its employees.