Letter: Pioneer Day is about religious freedom for all Americans

By Greg Martin

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, July 15 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, July 14 2014 11:11 p.m. MDT

This Is the Place Monument, dedicated in 1947, rises near the entrance to the evocative pioneer village of This Is the Place Heritage at the base of the Wasatch Mountains east of Salt Lake City.

Ray Boren

Enlarge photo»

The Mormons' entry into this valley in 1847 is commemorated by the celebration of Pioneer Day on July 24th. The fact that Pioneer Day is a state holiday should not cause employers to ignore or shun it because of their perception that it is “only about Mormons.” Pioneer Day is not just about Mormons but about religious freedom for all Americans.

The early state legislators recognized the sacrifices made by people of all faiths for religious freedom and chose to set this day aside as a state holiday beneficial to all Utahns. Mormons and non-Mormons alike should recognize these pioneer men and women as those who had the courage to live and fight for their beliefs. They should ask their employers to grant them the right to honor this day and give it the respect it deserves.

Greg Martin

South Jordan

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