Idaho Resident Wins $75K in War on Christmas Case
It's no secret that the Treasure Valley loves over the top Christmas lights displays that would put Clark Griswold to shame but one Idaho HOA ruined the fun for everyone.
The Morris family of Hayden is $75,000 richer after winning a lawsuit that's been ongoing for four years. According to the Coeur d'Alene Press, on top of the extravagant light display at Jeremy and Kristy Morris's home every year, the couple would also host a five day long, that included a live nativity in their yard days before Christmas. The nativity, not unlike the one at Scentsy Commons during their Point of Light concert event, featured live camels.
In 2015, the Morris family chose their Ferndale Drive home because it seemed like a perfect location to host their growing holiday extravaganza. Knowing how many people a spectacle of this size would bring to the neighborhood, Morris reached out to the West Hayden Estates Homeowners Association to see how his family could accommodate the organization while they hosted the event. Before the family even closed on the home, the HOA already had a drafted a letter to the Morris family explaining that they were concerned that the event would offend non-Christian residents and fill their neighborhood with people the organization considered "undesirables." Morris freely admits that telling the Christmas story of Jesus's birth was an important cornerstone of the event, but if you look at the flyer shared by Daily Mail UK secular figures like Santa, the Grinch, Rudolph and Frosty were also part of the display.
While the HOA was clearly not in favor of the event, Morris continued to build it and even worked with the City of Hayden to arrange parking at a local park and shuttle busses to their home. Hundreds of people showed up to enjoy the event, but Morris's neighbors harassed the visitors with profanity, kicked cars and tried to intimidate visitors into not returning to see the display. Some went as far as threatening to kill Morris.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Morris family and said that spreading the story of the Christian Savior's birth through their display was well within their First Amendment Rights and ordered the HOA to pay the family $75,000 for violating the federal Fair Housing Act.
While this is a win for the good guys in the "War on Christmas," the Morris family has chosen to move to a more Christmas friendly neighborhood.