Here’s the news clip I read on MSN:
Are Easter decorations trash? Colorado’s Carol Burdick was evicted after leaving “small Easter-theme stickers, plastic grass, Peeps marshmallow candies and a cardboard cutout of a chicken in a colorful egg” on her apartment door 17 days past the holiday. Fancy or folly? It’s up to a jury to decide. “You can’t evict somebody for Easter bunny decorations,” her lawyer tells the Daily Camera. “An Easter decoration is a religious statement and should be protected — even if it is just bunnies.”
It’s terrible isn’t it? Getting evicted for exercising your 1st amendment right to free expression? I LIKE BUNNIES AND CHICKIES AND PEEPS! (Take that, establishment!) Well, if you click the news link and read more about the story, you’ll see that the woman is not being evicted for leaving her Easter decorations up for 17 extra days. She’s being evicted for not paying her rent. And she says she refused to pay her rent because the apartment violated her rights by taking down her bunnies and chickies and peeps.
OK, law 101 – you don’t own your apartment or the outside of it. While you have significant rights to display bunnies and chickies and peeps inside your apartment, you have considerably less rights to display them OUTSIDE your apartment. If you read your lease carefully (oh, joy. More fun that a root canal…..) you will see that the apartment complex has an interest in keeping the outside of things looking nice, uniform, uncluttered and clean – ie – free from melting peeps sliding down front doors, and the ants that frequently accompany such displays. You are quite welcome to file some sort of suit to protest that your door display is not what your lease calls “trash”. However, while doing this, you must still pay your rent, and will most likely be required to take down the bunnies and chickies and peeps while you wage this intense battle in municipal court.
If you take this battle to court, which Carol Burdick is doing via her confused lawyer, you might base your argument on the fact that your display is a religious display. Do they mean that bunnies and chickies and peeps are a stand in for the cross that her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was crucified on? Bunnies and chickies and peeps represent the resurrection of said Savior and his subsequent ascension to Heaven to sit at the right hand of his Father? And if so, um... can you explain why these things are appropriate standins? You really have to take a close look at this argument before you decide whether to use your Columbus day decoration fund to file a lawsuit instead. You gotta ask "what is religion?" "What is religious expression?"
This is a question I have already confronted in my own personal life. You see, I am a member of the Park Anywhere Sect. I drive around in my car and sometimes I feel a calling from God. When that happens, I get out of my car, and I leave it parked wherever it is that God tells me to leave it. You laugh? Yah, well… they laughed at all the prophets.
The Court didn’t buy my argument about my religious expression. Are you buying Carol Burdick’s?
Here is the photo of her door. Notice that it looks like she has licked peeps and stuck them to the outside of her door and the wall next to it: