Yes, sadly, it is true! A religious liberty group says a Washington state Catholic assisted living complex has unjustly banned their residents from wishing others a “Merry Christmas” and from displaying decorations. This stems from a fear of violating a federal law.
Providence Place, located in Chehalis, Washington, is an assisted living complex for seniors, and receives government funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Katrina Newman, who is the building manager, informed residents that because they were government funded, that they are not permitted to display anything referencing Christ.
Newman informed residents that they were banned from saying “Merry Christmas”, singing carols that reference Christ, and displaying religious items in common areas. This news prompted a resident to contact Alliance Defending Freedom and issued a complaint.
In response, Alliance Defending Freedom sent the complex a letter defending the resident’s freedom to express her own religious views. Interestingly, the resident also mentions the unfairness of Newman in denying residents their freedom of religion while she displayed a menorah in a public space claiming that it was a “cultural expression” rather than something referencing religion.
HUD’s response to all of this “Christmas Ban”?
“Americans don’t lose their constitutionally protected freedom to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or otherwise express their faith just because they live in a facility that accepts government funds,” said ADF Senior Counsel Matt Sharp. “No HUD rule requires senior living centers that accept federal resources to deny their residents the ability to celebrate Christmas with religious songs and symbols.”
“Americans don’t lose their constitutionally protected freedom to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or otherwise express their faith just because they live in a facility that accepts government funds,” said ADF attorney Matt Sharp. “No HUD rule requires senior living centers that accept federal resources to deny their residents the ability to celebrate with religious songs and symbols.”
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