A senior living center in Washington state is banning all forms of religious expression during this Christmas season.
The residents of Providence Place in Chehalis can’t say “Merry Christmas,” sing religious Christmas songs, or display any decorations with a religious theme.
The complex told a Christian resident the Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits religious expression. The resident is worried she will be punished or even evicted from Providence Place for expressing her faith during the holidays.
The Alliance Defending Freedom says the HUD has not adopted such policy and is calling on the housing center to reverse its rule. The legal group wrote a letter saying, “given that your justifications for disallowing religious holiday expression directly contradict the position of HUD on the permissibility of Christmas displays we hope that this letter will clear up these issues and that you will do away with this terrible policy.”
The ADF letter explains the HUD itself has stated that it “continues to strongly support and respect the display of all religious symbols on properties receiving HUD assistance. We discourage anyone from interfering in the free exercise of religion and prohibiting residents from celebrating the joys of the season.”
“Americans don’t lose their constitutionally protected freedom to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or otherwise express their faith just because they live in a facility that accepts government funds,” said ADF Senior Counsel Matt Sharp. “No HUD rule requires senior living centers that accept federal resources to deny their residents the ability to celebrate Christmas with religious songs and symbols.”
ADF is currently waiting on Providence Place to respond before taking further legal action.