OK, granted, this is a “complicated” story. Anybody who wants to put a Jesus statue or any other religious icon outside his patio door is free to do so. It’s part of our heritage — both of religious freedom and freedom of expression. But if you live in an apartment, the place isn’t yours — you have to abide by the landlord’s rules, even if he says to keep your Jesus inside. What got my attention were the dictates of federal fair housing laws:
For the owners of the Colonial Crest apartment complex where Long lives on Muncie’s west side, the statue is a potential violation of federal fair housing laws and a possible affront to people of other religious beliefs.
[. . .]
The 24-hour nature of Long’s display — which included a spotlight that cast a shadow of the statue on the wall of Long’s building — was part of the concern that prompted Colonial Crest manager Mike Desloover to send two letters telling Long to remove the statue.
“We appreciate the diversity of our complex,” Desloover told The Star Press. “I will not participate in anything that’s not open to everyone of every race, creed, color and religion. We don’t have political signs or anything religious that might be construed to violate the protected classes.”
[. . .]
Behind Colonial Crest’s concerns is the Fair Housing Act, which was part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The law outlawed discrimination in the rental or purchase of homes but also touched on many other housing-related discrimination issues, including the display of religious scenes and icons.
The act forbids “notice, statement or advertisement that indicates a preference, limitation or discrimination based on religion.”
That’s purely insane. If an individual displays something outside his own apartment, that in no way indicates the complex as a whole promotes it. And it is not “appreciating diversity” to make people hide anything that might possibly be offensive to anyone. How can we appreciate diversity if we are even allowed to express the things that show us in fact to be diverse? How intolerant do we allow bureaucratic thugs to become in order to promote tolerance?