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    King County, Washington, Wins 2022 Ebenezer Award

    George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol' (video screenshot)
    George C Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol video screenshot

    King County, Washington, has won a key legal organization’s “2022 Ebenezer Award” for banning its employees from having “holiday decorations” in their video backgrounds.

    Becket announced this week it had found that the county’s “Guidelines for Holiday Decorations for King County Employees,” informed workers “that religious symbols could not appear in their video backgrounds.”

    “While images of snowflakes, wreaths, and pine trees are still permissible, the grinch-like King County HR department has made it its mission to erase religious emblems from the online workplace this holiday season,” Becket explained.

    “King County’s rationale for banning religious symbols—that it might offend coworkers—also conflicts with Becket’s latest findings in our Religious Freedom Index. Overall, we found that 85% percent of Americans support the freedom to express or share religious beliefs with others, which would certainly include displaying a nativity scene or menorah in someone’s video background.”

    “Religious employees of King County will likely feel like the ransacked residents of Whoville this Christmas and Hanukkah season,” explained Montse Alvarado, Becket’s executive director.

    “The government has no right to rob its employees of holiday cheer by forcing them to take down their nativity sets and menorahs, particularly in their own homes.”

    Becket explained that each year the season that includes Christmas and Hanukkah “inspires a slew of outrageous offenses against the free exercise of religion. At Becket, we do Santa’s dirty work for him, delivering a lump of coal as an acknowledgment of scroogery on a grand scale. Previous Ebenezer Award winners include the American Humanist Association, which tried to stop schools from sending care packages to children in need; the Department of Veteran Affairs, which banned employees at its Salem, Virginia facility from saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to veterans; and the University of Minnesota, which two years ago banned from campus holiday colors, Santas, bows, dreidels, and even wrapped presents.”

    “This is the time of year that Americans ought to come together in the spirit of Christmas to support one another and spread joy and hope,” said Alvarado. “But as always, there are bureaucrats like those in King County that try to scrub religion out of the holiday season. Let’s hope their hearts grow a few sizes this Christmas.”

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