Report: A family is asked to remove its Christmas display because someone found it offensive.
Me: Well, this is Fox News. "Hyperboly" is their stock in trade. Let's see if anyone else covers it.
...well, others have, including the local CBS station, the USA Today, and the Daily Mail. So let's see what's happening.
Welcome to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the home of Mark and Lynn Wevill. The Wevills made the fatal mistake of joining their local homeowner's association. For those that don't know, HOA's are sort of a union for a neighborhood instead of workers. It's supposedly to help leverage political action, civic repairs, or get deals on home services. However, as anyone like me with union experience will tell you, unions can become corrupt or so full of themselves that they trample rights and fairness instead of safeguarding them. And this has turned into Exhibit A.
One of the things the HOA has is established dates to put up Christmas displays, so people don't leave them up until, say, Easter. On December 16, the Wevills participated, putting up Christmas displays with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Also, because they are Christian, they decided for the first time to put up a manger scene and, above it, a sign saying, "Jesus." Here's the results:
Standard stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.
Well, not everyone did. A few days later, they got an email from the HOA representative. According to the rep, someone (the HOA has yet to reveal who) complained that the HOA that the display was offensive and the HOA was officially demanding the family take it down. They weren't being cited, just told to be more considerate of their neighbor's feelings.
The Wevills responded that it was a Christmas display and perfectly within the bounds of personal expression.
Ah, but the HOA has a loophole. In a second email, the HOA said the display wasn't a decoration but, in fact, a sign, which violates the rules against signage in the neighborhood . "The size, structure, and illumination of the physical sign are the accentuating factors generating the complaint." Bottom line: it needs to go. Bud Vance, the HOA president, told the Gettysburg Times, "After taking a look at it, it isn't in accordance with normal Christmas decorations."
On December 21st, the story went viral. The Wevills are standing their ground and refusing to take it down until the January 15th "end of season" established by the HOA. And despite using a loophole to curtail the Wevills' freedom of expression, the HOA has released a statement saying that they feel unfairly demonized (see what I did there?) by the attention and controversy. "It is, indeed, unfortunate that our attention has been unnecessarily redirected in this manner with a suggestion that Scrooge is alive and well in our community. Many of our families will be in church on Monday with their spirit diminished by this attack." Aw, let's have a pity party for them.
The Wevills are also getting a ton of support from the neighborhood. People in their HOA and the surrounding area, from other Christians to Atheists to Jews to Muslims to whatever, are coming out in droves with statements of support for the family while the HOA mewls about everyone picking on them.
Just wait until next Festivus. The Airing Of The Grievences should be pretty interesting....