A Catholic senior center in Washington state is refuting claims that it has barred residents from saying “Merry Christmas” and singing Christmas carols but is “doubling down” on a policy prohibiting residents from decorating the exterior of their apartment doors.
Providence Health Services, a nonprofit Catholic health care provider, received a letter Monday from one of the nation’s leading conservative religious freedom law firms relaying concerns made by a resident of its independent-living senior apartment complex in Chehalis, Washington.
Aided by funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide affordable housing to low-income elderly individuals, Providence Place has been accused by Alliance Defending Freedom of “banning any Christian religious reference in any Christmas decoration, celebration, or Christmas card.”
The letter from ADF attorney Blake Meadows states that the unnamed resident wanted to express her Christian beliefs during the holiday season by saying “Merry Christmas” to other residents and singing Christmas carols in the public common areas of the complex.
According to the organization, the resident also sought to place religious messages and secular Christmas cards on the outside of the door to her apartment. Additionally, the resident wants to replace a mezuzah on her door frame. She claims she was told to remove the mezuzah by building manager Katrina Newman.
“As Christmas approached, Ms. Newman informed the residents that the Fair Housing Act prohibited residents from saying Merry Christmas, singing Christmas carols that reference Christ, or displaying any decorations referencing the Christian religion during the holiday season,” the letter claims. “Interestingly, Ms. Newman permitted a menorah in the public space “because it was cultural Expression.”
Newman is also accused of informing residents who wanted to display their Christmas cards on their apartment doors that “no cards with any religious reference could be displayed.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith