Pagosa Springs Peace Wreath Stirs Opinions, HOA Bans Wreath
The wreath in question
With the political rift growing ever-wider following the recent midterm elections, it is not surprising that a holiday wreath in the shape of a peace symbol has caused a stir in Colorado:
PAGOSA SPRINGS - In a town in scenic southwestern Colorado homeowners are battling over whether a Christmas wreath that includes a peace sign is an anti-Iraq war protest or even a promotion of Satan.Annoyed as can be by the constant activism of peaceniks, it is doubtful that a Christmas wreath in the shape of a peace symbol is a "promotion of Satan". Anti-Iraq war? Yes, possibly. Pro-Satan? Not likely.
"We have had three or four complaints. Some people have kids in Iraq and they are sensitive," said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He also said some believe it is a symbol of Satan.
Jeff Heitz, of the association board, sent a letter to Lisa Jensen saying: "Loma Linda residents are offended by the peace sign displayed on the front of your house. ... This Board will not allow any signs, flags etc. that can be considered divisive...."
The subdivision's convenants say no signs, billboards or advertising are permitted without the consent of the architectural control committee.
When Kearns ordered the association's architectural control committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath removed, they refused. Jack Lilly, chairman of the group, said it decided it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything. Lilly also said he had received no complaints from homeowners. Kearns fired all five members of the committee.Assuming you can take Jensen's word--which at this point is the reasonable choice--then the wreath is not offensive, as generally peace is desirable, hence all the "Peace on Earth" signs this time of year. And Jesus was, of all things, the Prince of Peace.
"Somebody could put up signs that say drop bombs on Iraq. If you let one go up you have to let them all go up," said Kearns in a telephone interview Sunday. Earlier another homeowner had complied when required to take down a peace sign that was made of a pie plate held up by two skis.
Jensen, a past president of the association in the subdivision of 200 homes 270 miles southwest of Denver, said: "I honestly wasn't thinking of the Iraq war. Peace is way bigger than not being at war. This is a spiritual thing. I am not going to take it down until after Christmas. Now that it has come to this I feel I can't get bullied. What if they don't like my Santa Claus."
Kearns said the association will fine Jensen $25 a day for every day it remains up. She calculates that will cost her about $1,000, although she doubts they will be able to make her pay.
Kearns, meanwhile, also said he was concerned about the pagan symbolism of the peace sign. "It's also an anti-Christ sign. That's how it started," he told the Durango Herald.
The HOA can make judgments like this one, which is why HOAs are nothing more than communitarian dictatorships. If Jensen had intended to make the peace wreath more directly a political statement, this could easily have been accompanied by another sign indicating her political views. Unfortunately, with such restrictive HOA policies, Jensen's wreath, political or otherwise, will cost her a good deal of money.
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