Christmas Display Returns After Christian Idaho Family Wins Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Against Homeowners Group

Jeremy Morris will once again display Christmas decorations with live biblical character actors and animals at his home in a Hayden, Idaho subdivision, shown in 2015.
Facebook photo

A Christian family will resurrect their elaborate neighborhood Christmas display after winning a legal battle against an Idaho homeowners group.

Jeremy R. Morris is preparing an even larger production than the 200,000 lights, living nativity, biblical character actors, carolers, live animals and Santa Claus that he last displayed at Christmas 2016 at his family’s home in Hayden, Idaho, he said Nov. 25 on Facebook.

“This Thanksgiving weekend, I am grateful to live in a country that protects freedom of religion,” Morris wrote after winning his case against a homeowners group that objected because atheists lived in the subdivision. “We love Christmas, celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.”

While religion was a factor in the case, Morris and his wife Kristy filed their civil suit under Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, otherwise known as the Fair Housing Act, according to documents of the U.S. District Court of the District of Idaho in Coeur d’Alene.

A jury awarded the Morrises $60,000 in compensatory damages and $15,000 in punitive damages, finding that the West Hayden homeowners association “intentionally discriminated” against the Morrises during and after the purchase of their home.

The West Hayden Estates First Addition Homeowners Association Inc. specified preference for a “non-religious” purchaser, and “threatened, intimidated, or interfered with” the Morrises’ purchase or enjoyment of their home, the jury said in its Oct. 30 verdict.

The association is submitting final papers to have the judgment dismissed, according to the court, and the Morrises are seeking to have their home de-annexed from the subdivision.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press, Diana Chandler