Letters to the Editor

In defense of religious-freedom regulations Bureaucratus' column about President Clinton's executive order on religion in the federal work place "Religious-freedom regs poised on slippery slope" [FCW Sept. 22] is an example of one of the reasons why the executive order is necessary. Although the executive order does not change the policy regarding religion in the federal work place it does advertise those regulations to an oftentimes confused society.

This confusion is understandable and although the media often remind us that the First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion " they usually forget to mention "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Bureaucratus is afraid that the regulations would allow "inflammatory" religious messages. The trouble with outlawing such messages - besides the constitutional question - is that "inflammatory" is in the eye of the beholder.

Using such a subjective criterion would result in one or more religions being favored over others.

Bureaucratus is afraid that religious conversations between supervisors and their subordinates would affect their relationships. There is actually little to be afraid of. After all conversations between such people regarding unions Congress the Dred Scott decision judicial activism vacation spots etc. affect their relationships but are not similarly worrisome. Why should nonreligious expressions be protected but religious expressions be given second-class treatment?

The executive order does state that when the person you are conversing with says to stop discussing religion you have to stop. This is common courtesy regardless of the topic of conversation.

Bureaucratus said "There should be a difference between going to work and going to church." Well as long as people are allowed to live out their religious convictions at work there will be a difference because there will be many religious points of view expressed in the work place. Shutting off the expression of easily identifiable organized religions does not create a religion-neutral work place but instead creates an environment that favors religions without these characteristics such as secular humanism.

Laura L. MannReceived via e-mail

Note: The opinions expressed above are solely mine and not necessarily those of my supervisors co-workers or the federal agency by which I am employed.

Manual Y2K fix

I have read the article "NASA tallies Y2K glitch" in the Sept. 15 issue of Federal Computer Week. I have done some research on PC compliance and it appears that there are two issues:

First will the PC roll over the date from 12/31/1999 to 1/1/2000? Second can a date in the Year 2000 be manually entered (i.e. the DOS Set Date Command) and can this date be maintained by the PC?

This article appeared to accurately address the first issue. But this may only be a concern if the PC will be operating at midnight on 12/31/1999. We tested a sample of PCs and found that a high percentage will not properly roll over.

However on the machines that did not properly roll over the dates we were able to manually set the date to 2000. After the date was set to 2000 we could power-off and reboot and the date remained at 2000.Based upon this test the definition of Y2K compliance depends on the use of the PC. If the PC is to be operating at midnight on 12/31/1999 it must properly roll over to 2000 to be compliant. If the PC will not be used until the first business day in 2000 it must be able to accept a manually set date of 2000.

We also noted that a given make and model of a PC is not always manufactured with the same BIOS and may react differently on the rollover test.

I hope this information is helpful.

Bob RossSenior EDP AuditorChesterfield County GovernmentChesterfield Va.

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