Homeowner upset ban of religious statues

Published On: May 02 2013 12:29:27 AM EDT
Updated On: May 03 2013 11:20:40 AM EDT

VIDEO: A homeowner's association in Clay County says this manger scene needs to be taken down, but the owner says that would violate her religious freedom. Members of the HOA met and we're hearing they went head-to-head with the owner.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -

Lake Asbury resident Kathy Thomas attended her Home Owner's Association meeting Thursday night to stick up for what she calls her religious freedom.  

This after receiving a warning letter from the HOA where they have a picture of the manger scene and states, "The Ornament has not been approved by the architectural committee," and that Thomas needs to, "remove the Christmas decor."

Thomas told Channel 4 on Wednesday that she was not happy with her homeowner's association and that she's received a numerous letters from the HOA over her Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus statues. 

"They said I have to remove him. They sent me two notices," said Thomas."My plan is to tell them I want my HOA fees back for the nine years I've lived here. My yard has been taken care of. I've even edged and weed whacked it myself."

At  Thursday's meeting, members of the HOA asked a Clay County sheriff's deputy to tell Channel 4's crew to leave the grounds, making two nights in a row law enforcement was called as Channel 4 looked into Thomas' concern.

Another resident of the community, Ariz Fernandez, showed Channel 4 the wording in the HOA covenant agreement that says the association's board does have the right to tell people to take down statues.

"I don't agree with it. Some things should be at the homeowner's discretion," said Fernandez. "Unfortunately, written into the covenant agreement that everyone signed into, they can pretty much stop anything they don't approve of."

Sources inside Thursday night's HOA meeting told Channel 4 that the issue of Thomas' lawn ornaments was not allowed to be brought up during the meeting. Then, sources said, after some harsh words were thrown around, Thomas was escorted from the building by police. 

Thomas told Channel 4, her fight isn't over.

"They are going to be sued, is what's going to happen," said Thomas. "Because I don't take no bull crap and I don't take no as an option."

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