Rantz: King County erased Christmas, Easter and Hanukkah from woke, taxpayer-funded calendar
The King County Office of Equity and Social Justice (OESJ) spent taxpayer dollars on a calendar that erases the names Christmas, Easter, and Hanukkah. Actually, it erases most holidays, replacing them with heritage celebration months to better reflect the office’s commitment to diversity — so long as it doesn’t represent Christians or Jews.
Their reason? They cited themes of equity around traditional holidays. It’s a giant virtue signal.
Despite ample time, and a protracted back and forth over email, the county won’t even offer basic details about the decision. They merely admit this isn’t the first time they omitted holidays in a calendar. But behind the scenes, the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH has learned they may make changes moving forward, now that concerns have been raised.
Why is this important? One critic, a sitting King County Councilmember, notes this promotes exclusion, not inclusion.
Erasing holidays over equity concerns
OESJ releases an annual calendar to King County employees. It includes artwork and an inspirational quote that reflect a commitment to social justice.
But the calendar also erases most mentions of the federal and county holidays employees get off. The only exceptions are Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth, since they represent holidays the OESJ can support.
The holidays not mentioned by name have circles around their dates.
Thanksgiving is omitted from the calendar, replaced with Native American Heritage Month. Christmas isn’t mentioned on the calendar, either. Instead, it celebrates International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.
Hanukkah most definitely doesn’t get a mention, even though Jews are an underrepresented minority in King County. Acknowledging Jews stopped being progressive around the start of the anti-Semitic Boycott-Divest-Sanction movement. But in April, the calendar celebrates Arab American Heritage Month, though no mention of Jewish American Heritage Month in May.
The calendar is similar to one released in 2019.
“Inclusion is not accomplished by exclusion,” King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
Lambert, who says the calendar is taxpayer-funded, spoke with members of OESJ. Some cited themes around equity to explain omitting the holidays.
“When I asked about why it was left off, I was told that this is from the perspective of equity and social justice,” Lambert explained. “Well, I believe equity and social justice should be respectful of all beliefs and include major significant dates for every group, which would include people of faith.”
King County provides no answers, but a lot of emails
Neither members of the OESJ nor the spokesperson for the King County Executive’s Office provided any meaningful details around the calendar. But I sure did get plenty of emails telling me nothing.
No one from OESJ responded to my request for more information, which simply asked for context around the calendar. A county spokesperson did, however, respond.
A spokesperson told me he could “maybe get more info” on my requests, so I held off on this story. He wasn’t able, or perhaps willing, to provide the context I was asking for.
Instead, the spokesperson explained to me what was on the calendar:
“The additional acknowledgements underneath each month reflect best practice Heritage Months (or Commemorative observances) that are recognized by a variety of institutions across the country.”
I already knew this because I looked at the calendar.
When I again asked for context around why they formatted the calendar in this way, my emails weren’t returned.
They could, of course, simply say they wanted to focus on social justice causes. Instead, they ignore requests. That makes it seem like their intent was to be exclusionary on the taxpayer’s dime.
Inclusion, not exclusion
Lambert took notice of the calendar because it purposefully excludes most residents, particularly those who celebrate the religious holidays unmentioned by OESJ.
“My main concern is that Christmas and Hanukkah were not labeled, nor was there a title that said something along the line of holy time for religions,” Lambert told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “This is one more example of how the county avoids anything religious. While I realize our county has a low weekly church / faith meeting hall attendance, there are many people who celebrate Christmas or observe it as a special time of year, as well as Hanukkah. Then there is Easter. … This leaves out an important date for many.”
Lambert sees this as part of an anti-faith pattern, arguing the country “turns away faith partners” due to county regulations.
For example, Lambert remembers faith groups offering services to the county to help residents dealing with alcoholism or drug abuse. But county regulations, Lambert says, won’t allow support of these groups because they require their employees to share their religious beliefs.
A promise to change
Lambert says she spoke with members of OESJ to share her concerns. And after questions from the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, the office was ready to make some changes.
“They said they did not intend to be excluding anyone,” Lambert recounts of her discussion.
The councilmember says the office has committed to making updates for the next year.
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