The Grinch arrived early in King County this year, in the form of a memo to employees, cautioning them about religious holiday decorations at work – including their virtual workspace, such as a home office.
The memo claimed the county was committed to “honoring the diversity in its workforce,” while warning against displaying Nativity scenes, menorahs and other religious symbols.
King County is the most populous county in Washington state and home to Seattle, the largest city in the state.
The Family Policy Institute of Washington commented on this, saying:
This speaks to the paradox the left continues to create for itself. 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.
A memo from the county’s Department of Human Resources said:
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.
If you’re working from home, you better make people don’t catch a glimpse of Jesus, Joseph and Mary in the background.
Employees were cautioned:
Before adding any decorations to your workspace (including your virtual workspace), consider the likely effect of such decorations on all of the employees in and outside your work group.
As Jason Rantz, conservative talk show host and frequent guest on FOX News, reported:
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.
King County Human Resources warned employees not to decorate their workspaces with overtly Christmas or Hanukkah decorations. They fear decorations may offend employees.
A county employee sent Rantz a copy of the memo, authored by Workforce Equity Manager Gwen Ngezaho. The memo said the county “remains committed to honoring the diversity in its workforce and is fortunate to have employees from many diverse backgrounds.”
Despite that commitment to honor diversity, the memo listed symbols from a variety of religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, the Baha’i Faith, Hinduism and Buddhism.
According to Rantz:
The memo says you cannot include Nativity sets or menorahs. But the list of symbols banned from virtual display extends well beyond what you would display for the holidays: stars of David, a cross or a crucifix, and images of Jesus or Mary.
To ensure that HR isn’t accused of focusing exclusively on Christians and Jews, even though that appears to be the intent, the memo warns against the dharma wheel, crescent and star, aum, khanda, and a nine-pointed star.
Because, obviously, Americans typically decorate with dharma wheels, aums and khandas this time of year
The memo makes it clear that religious symbols are “not appropriate” in common and public areas, “because it may cause disruption to co-workers or members of the public that do not share that particular religion.”
Each Christmas brings a new round of stories about cities, government agencies and schools shutting down nativity scenes, banning Christmas lights and displays, silencing Christmas carols, and forbidding invitations to church Christmas parties.
This year, it looks like King County is the first Scrooge out of the gate, prohibiting personal demonstrations of faith related to Christmas and Hanukkah.
To which we reply, “Bah! Humbug!”
Related articles and resources:
City Allows Only Secular Christmas Decorations in Public Area, Gets Sued
Grinches and Scrooges Bring Our Annual Round of Christmas Battles
New Texas Law Takes on HOAs that Prohibit Religious Displays on Front Lawns
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