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Here’s why: Cameron Cooke, one of the students in the photograph, was quoted in one media story as explaining, “The cross painting is important to me because it represents who I am as a Christ follower. And it reminds me who I need to act like in Death Valley,” referring to Tiger Stadium’s nickname.

In other words, the original photo reflects the authentic character of a member of the student body, as well as the freedom he feels to express his religious belief publicly on the campus of LSU.

That’s an awesome reflection of the atmosphere at a public university, where freedom of expression ought to be a hallmark of an educational institution.

Instead, LSU — tiptoeing through the minefield of political correctness, as so many colleges and universities now do — is choosing to earmark certain of its audiences as being appropriate for the “real” picture, while others must be treated with the kid gloves of PC accommodation.

We’re sending the wrong signal to young Americans when we teach them that their outward symbols of belief — religious or otherwise — should rightly be hidden in the interest of avoiding “offense.”

Marybeth Hicks is the author of “Don’t Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left’s Assault on Our Families, Faith and Freedom.” Find her on the web at http://marybethhicks.com.