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Letter: Disagrees with writer

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Dear Editor,

I don't know where to start in responding to Greg Miller's letter expressing his grave concerns about "a systematic conspiracy to remove all faith traditions from the United States public arena." Miller refers to recently released guidelines from the University of Minnesota encouraging its employees to be "respectful of religious diversity" in planning office holiday related activities. You can read the entire memo here: http://oncampus.mpr.org/2011/12/the-umn-holiday-celebration-memo-that-mi....

University employees are not prohibited from wishing others, "Merry Christmas," nor are there rules against Christmas or other religious decorations in private work spaces. Only religious displays in public places are disallowed. Under this policy an employee is free to have a crucifix on his or her desk but a department would not be allowed to erect a manger scene in a reception area. In spite of Miller's dire warnings, encouraging its employees to be respectful of others' beliefs hardly equates to the brutal policies of such places as Communist China or Nazi Germany.

I cannot understand how restricting government's involvement in the celebration of a religious holiday constitutes a threat to anyone's religious belief. Public employees have the same rights to religious expression as anyone else. What public employees may not do is use the public institution to promote their religious beliefs.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that their holiday season was a truly happy one.

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