Pennsylvania Family Is Told Their ‘Jesus’ Christmas Decoration Is ‘Offensive,’ You Know What Happens Next

A Pennsylvania family is fighting back after their home owners association is forcing them to take down a Christmas decoration due to a complaint by another member that it was “offensive.”

The association also argues that the decoration violates their community’s rules due to its “size, structure, and illumination.”

The decoration in question is a lit board which spells out the name “Jesus.”

Per Fox News:

Mark and Lynn Wivell of Adams County, a Gettysburg subdivision, said they put up their Jesus display last Saturday, FOX43 reported.

“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 told FOX43.

The family was “shocked” when they were asked to have their decoration removed.

Here’s more from USA Today:

Wivell and his wife, Lynn, were gobsmacked when they received an email a few days later from their homeowner association asking the couple to remove the display. One of their neighbors had complained the sign was offensive, an email from the association states.

“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.”

According to the home owners association president (via Gettysburg Times), the decoration was asked to be taken down because it was also in violation of a Christmas decoration code:

[Wivell] said he received an email the next day from a member of the Courtyards Executive Board, under The Links at Gettysburg Homeowners Association, asking him to take the decoration down.

“After taking a look at it, it isn’t in accordance with normal Christmas decorations,” Courtyards President Bud Vance wrote.

The Wivell’s offered their own evidence that their decoration is justified:

Wivell has lived in the community since 2005 and said he is familiar with the guidelines in the Public Offering Statement (POS), which residents sign when they move in. Being familiar with the rule that prohibits decorations in the yard, Wivell made sure to put the decoration in the mulch bed outside his home, he said.

Wivell argues it is “not technically a sign,” but a Christmas decoration that complies with the POS. The Courtyards board disagrees.

The association responded:

A second email sent to Wivell, this time from the entire three-member board, explained how the sign is in violation. Tom Fischer and Karen Landry also sit on the board.

Quoting the POS, the board wrote, “No signs or billboard of any kind shall be displayed to the public view on any unit “

The email continued on to say it is a “key responsibility” of the board to address complaints from homeowners regarding “matters that are in conflict” with the community’s rules.

“We simply cannot decide to enforce some standards and allow other standards to be ignored,” the board wrote.

The family hit back:

The family said they have no plans to take down the sign until January 15, when the association requires all displays to be taken down. Family members said they are unsure which neighbor was offended.

“People get offended by different things, but just because something offends you, doesn’t mean the whole world has to change to accommodate you, so I would say please be more tolerant,” Mark Wivell said.

“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,” the statement read. “Many of our families will be in church on Monday with their spirit diminished by this attack.”