Renters Rights: Knocking Around the Christmas Tree…

Barb Wire

Christmas is fine at the White House, but at grandma’s house? Well, that’s a different story. In Wilmington’s Lake Ridge Commons, renting an apartment doesn’t give you the right to decorate it. That’s what managers of Excel Properties told their seniors at the North Carolina living complex. In a head-scratching story that’s getting national attention, the president of the center is banning holiday decorations for their older residents.

“We had door decorating contests, wrapping paper covered doors, festive wreaths,” Leigh Bowser told WECT TV. “Now, Christmas is illegal. Any display of Christmas is banned.” The announcement was made by Excel President Ann Hanson, who told renters that the only thing welcome at Lake Ridge Commons is a grinch. Insisting that some residents had “offended” their neighbors with their holiday displays, Hanson said signs of outdoor Christmas cheer wouldn’t be tolerated.

Outraged, residents banded together and sent a protest letter to management. They only doubled down, Fox News’s Todd Starnes reported. “Moving forward, we have been advised by our legal counsel to adhere to our lease to the fullest,” Hanson reiterated. Hoping to soften the blow, she offered a condescending “this-is-for-your-own-good” post script. This is “not intended to hurt the holiday season,” she insisted, “but to preserve it.” Preserve it where? In a dark closet?

On the opposite end of the age spectrum, college kids are constantly choking down a steady diet of political correctness. At the University of California-Irvine, forget Christmas. They wish you a merry non-religious specific day off of winter. And there are guidelines to make sure students don’t forget it. The list of pre-approved party themes are “Fall, Winter, or Spring.” “Focus on celebrating a special occasion instead of a specific holiday,” UC officials insist in their rules for “planning inclusive celebrations.”

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NRO’s Katherine Timpf was more than a little annoyed by the policy. “If Christmas is the reason for the party, then it should be okay to do Christmas-like things to celebrate it. If the tree in question is a Christmas tree, then we should be able to call it that — because, well that’s what it’s called. That really isn’t even a religious issue so much as it’s a vocabulary one.” But, she goes on, “Perhaps the most idiotic thing about UC-Irvine’s guidelines, though, is their advice to ‘ensure that office celebrations are not indirectly celebrating religious holidays.’ Um, that’s the purpose of your whole list! Literally all the list is doing is telling people how to have a Christmas party without making it seem like a Christmas party.”

Of course, the war against Christmas is as old as Jesus Himself. Take the wise men, for instance. They were as politically incorrect as it gets. In searching for Jesus, they went to the local government, of all places, hoping King Herod would share their joy. Boy, were they wrong! Although he seemed accepting, secretly he wanted to kill the child. Fortunately, the magi were warned that Herod’s real agenda wasn’t worshipping Jesus — it was destroying Him. I guess some things never change.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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