Monday, November 27, 2006

Sometimes all I can do is shake my head and sigh...

A homeowners' association in a southwestern Colorado town is demanding that a resident take down a Christmas wreath shaped like a peace symbol. The president of the homeowners' association claims that other residents are complaining that the decoration is a protest against the war in Iraq or a Satanic symbol, and is threatening to fine the resident $25 a day if the decoration is not removed.

Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.
The homeowner denies that the symbol is a protest against the Iraq War. "Peace is way bigger than not being at war," Lisa Jensen, the resident at the center of the controversy, says. And the "peace symbol is a Satanic symbol" claim, a favorite among Christian fundamentalists who would like us to believe that the symbol actually represents an upside-down, broken cross, ignores the true history of the symbol: it is a combination of the semaphoric signals for the letters "N" and "D," standing for Nuclear Disarmament. But, if you're the president of a homeowners' association in a tiny town near the Colorado - New Mexico border who gets offended by a freaking Christmas decoration, you probably don't let facts get in the way of your argument.

This wouldn't be the first time that a person included a peace symbol in a Christmas decoration. Perhaps people remember the peace symbol that was a prominent part of a suburban Cincinnati man's famous Christmas display, which featured 25,000 lights synchronized to a Trans-Siberian Orchesta tune and was included in a Miller Light commerical. Funny that I don't remember anybody complaining about his peace symbol. Maybe people in suburban Ohio, unlike people in small-town Colorado, have better things to do with their time than complain about Christmas decorations.

But wait: this story gets even better! The president of the homeowners' association used this opportunity to go on a power trip:

Kearns ordered the (subdivision's architectural control) committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn’t say anything. Kearns fired all five committee members.

So much for the idea of coming to consensus with your fellow residents in matters related to the aesthetic well-being of your neighborhood!

Jensen does not expect that the homeowners' association will be able to make her pay the fine and has refused to take down the decoration until after Christmas.

Good for her.

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