In the Superman comics, Bizarro is a twisted clone of Superman that perceives things backwards such as bad being good, up being down, and left being right. As intense as the annual Christmas conflagrations have become over the past few years, it was only a matter of time before those wishing to stand for decency and common sense found themselves in an unsettling situation where the usual roles were reversed.
In a number of short stories I have written such as “The Schauungtown Chronicles” and “An U.N.I.Q.U.E. Individual”, an organization known as the Toleration Fellowship set in a world governed by an elaborate system of homeowner associations suppresses traditional religious expression on behalf of secularists and New Age mystics in the name of inclusion and diversity. The Toleration Fellowship uses as its insignia the upside-down broken-cross peace symbol.
In a case in Colorado, it seems these roles have been reversed. A woman in a homeowner association there was being threatened with a fine of $25 a day for hanging on her home on private property a wreath in the shape of the peace sign. A number of residents took offense because the peace sign can also be interpreted as a Satanic symbol celebrating the defeat of Christ.
And even though the connections between New Age peaceniks and Luciferians are not exposed as nearly as much as they ought to be, so what in regards to what this lady wants to hang on the side of her house? It’s not like she tried to hang this on the side of someone else’s house or painted a naked lady tied to an altar. It’s just a round wreath not that much different than anybody else’s.
This is America and private property should still mean something. However, if we dig below the surface of this story that tickles our Christmas cackles we will see a much more ominous threat here than even whether or not a beloved Christmas decoration conforms to acceptable standards and that issue is about out of control homeowner associations.
Those in the “all rules must be obeyed simply because they are rules even if they say toss your granny into oncoming traffic” crowd will argue that membership in these organizations is voluntary. Is it though?
For if the individual wants to live in a particular neighborhood, they are informed almost as an after thought in many cases once the real estate transaction is completed that they must render homage as a vassal unto his feudal lord if they desire to remain in their newly procured domicile. And like any other serf living on a manor, the member of the homeowner association is bound by a pledge of obedience to whatever rules and bylaws the peasant’s betters might decide to promulgate.
Those enthusiastic to have every detail of their lives micromanaged down to the smallest degree that, if these kinds of rules are not enforced, the order and aesthetics making these developments desirable places to dwell will not be maintained. However, from analyzing just how extensive these kinds of regulations have become over the years, one has to ask are these governing boards more concerned about maintaining order or imposing a uniformity of thought upon the residents.
For what harm can a wreath with a couple extra sprigs of greenery strategically placed cause to property values. However, to the totalist mind such a decoration poses a greater threat to the COMMUNITY than a rusted car up on four cement blocks with rats living in it.
In several press accounts, it was initially reported that a decoration interpreted as being against the war could not be countenanced since it might foments DIVISIVENESS, one of the few remaining offenses worse than INDIVIDUALISM with the only greater wrongs perhaps being “racism” or “homophobia”. Thus, conformity to the group norm even in matters not even related to decorum or safety become even more important than liberties once considered foundational such as free expression and conscience. Specifics of the Second Gulf War asides, funny, I thought those qualities were some of the primary reasons justifying intervention abroad.
So long as no one goes to slashing tires and stuffing dead cats into mail boxes, what’s wrong with a little neighborhood division as it will actually prove good for everyone in the long run. It is in areas where everyone is forced to swallow the expression of their convictions for fear o f incurring some kind of legal penalty or social sanction as authorized under speech codes against “hate speech” and the like that such violence and vandalism usually occur.
Eventually, the homeowners association backed down from taking action against the peace sign. Ironically, that is itself a disturbing sign from a certain perspective.
For the governing board did not ultimately back down from its position having realized they had infringed upon the property rights and the dignity of the individual homeowner but rather because of the intensity of the response to their initial decision. Thus, things are not determined to be right or wrong by their relation to some eternal unchanging standard but whether or not they conform to the group consensus. Or as my family, who even though they don’t live in a homeowners association, were informed by a neighbor with whom we had gotten into a verbal altercation that they did not have to respect our property because, “No one likes you all anyway.”
This year, the unorthodox Yuletide decoration will be allowed to remain. But what is to protect its hanger when public opinion turns; does it really then become wrong to hang whatever greenery one wants on the side of their domicile?
Apart from the salvation found only in His Son Jesus Christ, God’s greatest gift to humanity is none other than the freedom we enjoy as beings created in His image. Thus one of the most profound yet subtle forms of blasphemy is none other than handing this precious heritage over to either individuals or organizations that were never meant to exert control to such an extent over our lives.