Subdivision backs off threats to fine woman for peace-sign wreath

DENVER — A subdivision has withdrawn its threat of $25 daily fines against a homeowner who put a Christmas wreath shaped like a peace sign on the front of her home.

“We want to let you know that this evening we just received a letter from the Loma Linda Home Owners Board of Directors stating: We had a misunderstanding with your Christmas decoration and for that we apologize. We withdraw any and all previous requests for removal of your decoration,” homeowner Lisa Jensen told The Associated Press.

None of the three members of the board in the scenic town 270 miles southwest of Denver was available for comment late Monday. Bob Kearns, president of the board, and Jeff Heitz, both had their phone numbers changed to unlisted numbers Monday. Tammy Spezze, the third board member, did not return a call seeking comment.

Jensen was ordered to remove the wreath when some residents in her 200-home subdivision saw it as a protest of the Iraq war. Kearns also said some saw it as a symbol of Satan.

Jensen said she was overwhelmed Monday with hundreds of calls of support and offers to help her pay the $1,000 fine that would be due if she kept the wreath up until after Christmas.

“We would like to thank everyone who has contacted us with moral support and offers of financial support. We are grateful to hundreds of complete strangers who felt so moved by this story they contacted us. We received calls from people who called themselves grandmas, mothers, military families, veterans, devout Christians, agnostics, atheists, a Rabbi, veterans of various wars, people with children in Iraq,” she said.

Many offered donations to help pay fines.

“It seems whenever someone tries to say ‘Peace on Earth’ it is met with so much resistance,” she said. “The incredible amount of support we have received over the last couple of days really is proof to us of how many people believe in peace and in our right to say it.”

The Loma Linda Homeowners’ Association ordered Jensen to remove the wreath from her house, saying it doesn’t allow flags or signs that are considered divisive. Kearns told The Associated Press earlier he had received three or four complaints from residents.

Jensen said she put up her wreath to show support for another resident who was asked to remove a peace sign made of a pie plate held up by two skis. She said residents have previously complained to the American Civil Liberties Union about the interpretation of the association’s rules.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday November 29, 2006.
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