Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development officials have announced a ban on any decorations in HUD housing complexes that mention Jesus or represent religion for the Christmas season, and the American Family Association has responded with a petition drive to overturn the decision.
The AFA has set up a link to allow constituents to send e-mails to the HUD secretary or President Bush expressing their objections to the policy.
The issue arose at the Plant City Living Center in Plant City, Fla., where 85-year-old Mrs. Arnold was told that federal law now prohibits her from displaying anything that references religion – words, decorations and the like – in the common area of her apartment building, a HUD facility.
The grandmother told AFA she was instructed that even an angel decoration would be disallowed by the ban, which makes her think of the restrictions in Germany during World War II.
According to the center, HUD has issued a directive banning "any religious symbols or religious words associated with Christmas," which effectively prevents Mrs. Arnold from placing a small Christmas tree outside her door if it contains any religious symbols or words – "even an angel," AFA said in a special alert asking for e-mails.
A spokeswoman at the center who preferred not to give her name told WND the rules now prevent displays "like a manger, like a Christ child, any religious symbols."
"We used to have a sign outside that said, 'Jesus is the reason for the season,' but we can't anymore," she told WND. "We're all very unhappy about that."
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What is going on in this country? This kind of stuff has got to stop. Most of the people that live in HUD housing don't have a choice but to live there. It is their home. So just because these older people have to live in government housing they are forced to give up their first amendment rights? This is just wrong.
I do not want to force anyone to believe in Jesus. I hope and pray they do, but would never force it on them. I just don't think I, or any one else should have to give up our rights to express our beliefs. You can bet the people that complain about religion do not have a problem letting you know how they stand.