News

Dec 28, 2017 by Alyssa Duvall

Christian Couple Resists HOA Demands To Remove "Offensive" Jesus Christmas Sign

Lynn and Mark Wivell, a Christian couple in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, have reportedly refused to comply with their homeowners association's demand to remove a "Jesus" Christmas sign from their yard which a neighbor has deemed "offensive." According to the Gettysburg Times, the Wivells' have a simple white sign with "Jesus" spelled out in red garland standing above a miniature nativity scene in their front yard.

Despite having lived in the community since 2005, this was the first year the family put up their handmade Christmas display. "I just felt it was time to acknowledge I'm a Christian," Mark Wivell told the Times.

Within 24 hours of the sign being put up, the HOA of the Courtyards community at the Links of Gettysburg received a complaint that the sign was "offensive" on December 16. The HOA sided with the complainant and a member of the association's executive committee sent the Wivells an email requiring the sign to be removed, stating the sign "wasn't in accordance with normal Christmas decorations," according to local news outlets.

Neil Blevins, one of the Wivells' neighbors, though not the unnamed complainant, shared with CBS 21 that he thinks leaving the sign up is "the non-Christian thing" to do: "I have no problem with that if that's what they want to do. I have a problem if other members of the community find it offensive. They have elected to do the non-Christian thing."

"We feel that is what Christmas is all about," Lynn Wivell told WHP-TV regarding their refusal to cave to the HOA demands. "Jesus is first. So we are celebrating His birthday and this is how we decided to do it...We were just kind of shocked that someone would take offense to what Christmas is all about." Mark Wivell added that "we wanted to show with our house that the real reason for Christmas is the birth of Jesus."

The Gettysburg Times reported all homeowners sign an agreement when they purchase property in the neighborhood which states that "No signs or billboard of any kind shall be displayed to the public view on any unit." The HOA board said in their second email to the couple, "We simply cannot decide to enforce some standards and allow other standards to be ignored."

The Wivells did not accept that explanation and steadfastly refused to take down the sign. "This is a Christmas decoration and our Christmas decoration adheres to the rules in our covenant about Christmas decorations," Mark asserted. "So there is no problem there. We have no plans to take it down."

WHP-TV reported that the Wivells will not take their decorations down until the Jan. 15, 2018, deadline set by the neighborhood for all Christmas decorations to come down.



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