Thursday, December 14, 2006

Senior Housing Facility Orders Wings Cut From Angel On Christmas Tree

In Florida, Seniors living in an Orlando area retirement home are facing blatant religious discrimination because of censorship of Christmas in their homes. Liberty Counsel is intervening to defend the religious freedom of residents, and faxed a demand letter to the Orlando Cloisters.The management at an Orlando area retirement home, Orlando Cloisters, issued a directive to strip the common areas of any religious symbols or words in Christmas displays. At the management’s direction, an employee at Orlando Cloisters cut the wings off the angel that was on top of the Christmas tree. Later, the angel was replaced with a Santa Claus. Angels were also removed from a display by the elevator in a hallway on one of the residence floors.The management issued a directive to the residents explaining that “Christmas trees, Santa Claus, wreaths, Hanukah Menorahs and ‘Seasons Greetings’ are all acceptable, as these items are not considered religious symbols.” Menorahs are indeed, religious symbols.The Federal Fair Housing Act protects people against discrimination in housing, including religious discrimination. The retirement home cannot legally censor out the Christian aspects of the Christmas holiday.I am astounded that the management would show disregard for the residents’ religious beliefs by cutting the wings off an angel on their Christmas tree! The management of Orlando Cloisters has sent a clear message that Christians are not welcome. I have great compassion for the elderly and cannot stand to see any of them deprived of the joy of Christmas. We will call upon the federal government to issue Christmas guidelines designed to prevent religious discrimination that often occurs in senior living facilities. If Christmas is censored from these precious ones, we all lose a piece of our religious freedom.