After Protest, California Allows Display of Religious Calendar

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - After protests by a legal watchdog group, the California Department of Financial Institutions in Los Angeles reversed a policy prohibiting its workers from having any religious items displayed at their workplace.

In April, state officials told Hyung John Kang, an employee at the DFI, that he would have to remove a Christian calendar from his work cubicle because it was "inappropriate and offensive."

Kang contacted the Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit legal watchdog organization that specializes in constitutional law. PJI became active in his defense.

After receiving a demand letter from the Institute, the DFI partially reversed its policy and allowed Kang to display his calendar but required him to take it down whenever he left the office.

After a second demand letter, the DFI completely reversed its original policy and allowed permanent display of the calendar in Kang's cubicle.

"If an employee is allowed to have a rainbow flag on their cubicle, they should also be allowed to have a Christian calendar," said Brad Dacus, president of the PJI. "This case is about preventing the government from effectively sterilizing the public square and the public workplace of religion and people with religious beliefs."

"We find there are more cases in California of harassment and intolerance of religion in public employment than in any other part of the country by far," Dacus said. "That's why it's so crucial that we immediately go to bat for those individuals suffering this outrageous treatment.

"This case was about government showing true tolerance in the workplace, not just for people who are politically correct, but also for people who have religious beliefs and don't feel they should somehow be forced to hide their beliefs," Dacus said.