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Members of the Sikh faith protested this week outside a Northern California courthouse after a man was turned away from jury duty because a symbolic dagger he was wearing violated the courthouse’s ban on weapons.

Gursant Singh was joined by dozens of Sikh men and women Tuesday, asking for an accommodation to permit him to wear his kirpan.

“We’re not talking about a big sword,” Mr. Singh told this columnist in an interview. “It’s a four-inch blade. There’s much more accessible things inside [the courthouse], like a big pair of scissors.”

In the Sikh faith, a kirpan is one of five articles of faith worn by followers at all times. Sikh men also wear their beards long and a turban to cover their heads.

Mr. Singh said Friday he had not yet received a response from the court to his appeals for an exemption from the ban. Sutter County Jury Commissioner Mary Beth Todd told a local television station, “It’s extremely important that we be sensitive to this, and we’re trying to be sensitive to it, and we’re trying to find a solution that will work for both sides.”

Mr. Singh said he was remaining optimistic the situation can be resolved.

“It’s really something they can make an accommodation on,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time before they do.”

More information about Mr. Singh and his protest can be found at


The National Day of Prayer and the National Day of Reason were both celebrated on Thursday.

The National Day of Prayer, organizers said, “exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families.”

President Obama, in his official declaration, called prayer “an essential act of worship and a daily discipline.”

“Today and every day, prayers will be said for comfort for those who mourn, healing for those who are sick, protection for those who are in harm’s way, and strength for those who lead,” he said. “Today and every day, forgiveness and reconciliation will be sought through prayer. Across our country, Americans give thanks for our many blessings, including the freedom to pray as our consciences dictate.”

In a bit of creative counter-programming, organizers said the National Day of Reason was created to “celebrate reason — a concept all Americans can support — and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.”

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