Homeowners’ Association Forces Pennsylvania Family to Remove ‘Offensive’ Christmas Display

Homeowners’ Association Forces Pennsylvania Family to Remove ‘Offensive’ Christmas Display

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A homeowners’ association HOA is ordering a Pennsylvania family to remove their Christmas display because a neighbor thought it was offensive.

Mark and Lynn Wivell told WPMT that they put up a Christmas display featuring the word “Jesus” to show others that they believe celebrating Christmas involves celebrating the birth of Christ.Image result for Homeowners’ Association Forces Pennsylvania Family to Remove ‘Offensive’ Christmas Display“As part of our Christmas decoration, we would display the name Jesus to point out to everyone that we in this family believe that the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus,” said Mark Wivell, who put the display up on Saturday.

The HOA disagreed with the family’s point of view and asked them to take down the sign Sunday because a neighbor said it was offensive. The HOA added the display violated the rules because it contained a sign that is not typically considered a Christmas decoration, USA Today reports.

“After taking a look at it, it isn’t in accordance with normal Christmas decorations,” Bud Vance, the Courtyards president, wrote in a statement to the Gettysburg Times.

The Wivells say they are following the rules and have no plans to take the sign down until January 15, when the HOA requires all holiday displays to come down.

“We have ordinances with regard to Christmas decorations, and my Christmas decorations comply with the HOA ordinances on Christmas decorations,” Wivell said.

“As part of our Christmas decoration, we would display the name Jesus to point out to everyone that we in this family believe that the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus,” said Mark Wivell, who put the display up on Saturday.Image result for Homeowners’ Association Forces Pennsylvania Family to Remove ‘Offensive’ Christmas DisplayThe HOA disagreed with the family’s point of view and asked them to take down the sign Sunday because a neighbor said it was offensive. The HOA added the display violated the rules because it contained a sign that is not typically considered a Christmas decoration, USA Today reports.

“After taking a look at it, it isn’t in accordance with normal Christmas decorations,” Bud Vance, the Courtyards president, wrote in a statement to the Gettysburg Times.

The Wivells say they are following the rules and have no plans to take the sign down until January 15, when the HOA requires all holiday displays to come down.

“We have ordinances with regard to Christmas decorations, and my Christmas decorations comply with the HOA ordinances on Christmas decorations,” Wivell said.

“We know that Christmas was about the birth of Jesus,” Wivell said. “I was quite shocked it offended somebody, but I guess in today’s world I shouldn’t have been.”

While the homeowner association was not concerned with the content of the sign, officials felt it was not in accordance with normal Christmas decorations and asked it be taken down, the email states.Image result for Homeowners’ Association Forces Pennsylvania Family to Remove ‘Offensive’ Christmas DisplayThe Wivells’ dispute with the association ultimately boils down to whether the display is considered a sign or a decoration.

Wivell says it is a decoration. The homemade display consists of a piece of plywood painted white and inscribed with the name “Jesus” in red, tinsel garland. He put it in his front yard at the same time as his Mickey and Minnie Mouse Christmas decorations and even draped a strand of lights over top of the wood. A small nativity scene sits beneath it.

However, the homeowner’s association says the display is considered a sign. While the content of the sign relates to the holiday season, the “size, structure, and illumination of the physical sign are the accentuating factors generating the complaint,” according to a second email the association sent the Wivells Dec. 18.

A message sent to the association by the The Hanover, Pa. Evening Sun was not immediately returned Friday.

So far, the Wivells have not been formally cited for the display, which they plan to keep up until Jan. 15 a date set by the homeowner association for removal of holiday decorations.

“I’m looking at this as a forum to promote what Christmas is all about,” Wivell said. “We wanted our neighbors to know how we feel. I don’t want this to be about me though. I want it to be about the birth of Jesus.”Image result for ‘Offensive’ Christmas DisplayThe Links at Gettysburg golf course posted a statement on social media Friday distancing the business from The Courtyards homeowner association.

“The Links at Gettysburg Golf Course, LLC, is a completely separate, private entity from the surrounding communities and their HOA’s,” the post states. “The regrettable incident involving a homeowner and their respective HOA has no reflection on our business, staff or our guests.

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