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County HR manager who banned religious symbols runs nonprofit claiming 'white race was invented'

Christmas, Office, Computer
Unsplash/Standsome Worklifestyle

A county official in Washington state who ordered employees not to display crosses and other religious symbols in their virtual workspaces inside their homes this Christmas is also the founder of an "anti-racist" nonprofit group that claims the white race "was invented." 

The memo from Dr. Gloria Ngezaho, a Department of Human Resources workforce equity manager for King County, where the city of Seattle is located, told employees in November that the cross, the star of David or any other religious symbols "should not be displayed in or as a background to an employee's virtual workspace."

The memo on "Guidelines for Holiday Decorations for King County Employees," first reported by conservative talk show host Jason Rantz, also distinguished between an employee's "personal workspace" and their virtual one.

"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 stated. 

The memo states that while the county "remains committed to honoring the diversity in its workforce," employees who want to decorate their workspace — virtual or otherwise — with religious symbols should first "consider the likely effect of such decorations on all of the employees in and outside your work group."

County officials did not respond to a request for comment from The Christian Post by press time.

Rantz said the memo was leaked by a county staffer from an internal posting last week. The directive extends not only to nativity scenes or menorahs but to any religious imagery, including a cross or crucifix, images of Jesus or Mary, and the star of David.

To "ensure that HR isn't accused of focusing exclusively on Christians and Jews," Rantz claims the memo also prohibits symbols like the Islamic crescent and star, Buddhism's dharma wheel and a nine-pointed star of the Ba'hai faith. He said none of those symbols are displayed during the Christmas season.

"You can celebrate LGBT Pride and wear a Black Lives Matter button throughout your day as a King County employee," Rantz wrote. "But you better not show a nativity set or menorah on your digital workspace or your home office."

The report explains those working in-office displaying religious symbols in areas such as breakrooms, conference rooms and reception areas are "not appropriate" due to the possibility that "it may cause disruption to co-workers or members of the public that do not share that particular religion."

King County, as a public entity, "cannot appear to support any particular religion," the memo added.

A CP review of Ngezaho's profile reveals that in addition to his role with King County, he also is the president and founder of Black Healing Fund (BHF), a nonprofit organization based out of Snohomish, Washington, working to "assist in the fight against the mental, health, & economic impact of anti-blackness."

Along with providing free resources like backpacks and school supplies to families in the black and African community, BHF also endorses and offers resources featuring controversial views on race, including critical race theory.

A list of resources on the BHF site includes "resources for white allies," with titles such as Understanding White Supremacy Culture, a toolkit for What is White Privilege Really?, and a Racial Healing Handbook on how to become "antiracist." 

BHF's Twitter account also espouses potentially racist views, including one tweet that reads, "The white 'race' was invented by rich Virginians in 1676" and links to a Boston NPR program entitled, "The History Of White People In America, Episode One: How America Invented Race."

Earlier this year, King County previously banned an employee from a workshop due to his race, according to Rantz.

The incident occurred ahead of a Feb. 17 remote workshop on "Anti-Blackness and Diet Culture," which a white staffer with the King County Sheriff's Office was reportedly prohibited from attending.

Hiram Sasser, general counsel for the religious freedom legal nonprofit First Liberty Institute, argued in a Fox News op-ed that Ngezaho's memo is "ridiculous as a policy matter."

"The secular state has nothing to fear from the menorah or the dharma wheel, particularly if those displays are within the home of the employee and simply in the background of a Zoom call," Sasser wrote. "But the ban is a serious infringement on the religious freedom of county employees."

In a CP editorial, Jerry Newcombe, executive director of the Providence Forum, said that directives like the King County memo are not unexpected today.

"Perhaps the greatest fear of secularists, like those bureaucrats in King County, trying to turn Christmas into a black-and-white 'winter wasteland' is the possibility that Jesus is real and that His birth was just the beginning of His Kingdom," Newcombe wrote. 

Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ian.giatti@christianpost.com

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