An elderly Christian woman in Massachusetts who was told to take down the Bible verses she posted on her front door in the apartment complex she lives in has reportedly stood her ground and defended her religious freedom rights this Christmas.
The American Center for Law and Justice reported on Wednesday that the woman, who wasn't named, put up Bible verses on her front door as others in the complex were putting up Christmas displays, but was told in a notice that she was violating federal law.
The tenant reached out to the ACLJ for help, with the law group sending a letter to the owner of the complex explaining that trying to force the woman to remove her Bible verses violates the Fair Housing Act.
"We demanded that the apartment complex rescind the notice, permit the religious display, and refrain from any harassment of and/or retaliation against our client for her religious speech. The apartment complex immediately complied," the law group explained.
It added that the FHA makes it clear that people cannot be discriminated against because of their religion, and are allowed to put up religious items as part of decorations on their doors.
"In this case, the apartment complex indicated its intent to keep the complex 'religion neutral,' however, the result was, instead, hostility toward, and discrimination based on, religion," the ACLJ added.
It noted that the FHA prohibits a general rule from being used in an inconsistent manner, and would not support a tenant being forced to remove religious expression only because others might find it offensive.
"Fortunately for our client, the matter was quickly resolved just in time for the Christmas season and she now displays her Bible verses on her front door without fear of reprisal," the group said.
The ACLJ has gotten involved in a number of religious freedom cases in the past couple of months, and in November spoke out against the Virginia Real Estate Board and its complaints against Christian realtors, accusing them of discrimination for using Bible verses on their websites and email signatures.
The realtors in question were not charged with refusing service to anyone, but the Board argued that simply displaying Bible verses makes others feel excluded and discriminated against.
The board apparently brought the Christian realtors before a tribunal, forcing them to take measures to prove that they are not discriminatory.
In one particular case, the board reportedly complained that the ACLJ client's website used John 3:16, a popular verse referring to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, which it argued could be discriminatory.
"Our client has provided realtor services for, among others, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, Kenyans, and Vietnamese. She is clearly not discriminating against anyone and just wants to express her faith through her work. That is her right, and we are fighting for her freedom to exercise it," the law group argued.