Yep, this is one of those times I’m going to stand up for one of the believers even if I do think he’s still a bit nutty.
Bill Kriso of Elyria, Ohio has a small sign in a window of the new home he bought that thanks Jesus for providing him with his new shelter. Seems Bill thanks Jesus for a lot of things including surviving a bullet to the head during Vietnam, though you’d think Jesus would’ve been doing him a bigger favor if he’d prevented Bill from being shot in the head in the first place, but if Bill wants to be thankful for the bullet still lodged in his brain then who am I to nitpick? Bill is very grateful that he has a new home and so he put up his small sign which you can see over on the right. No big deal, really, except that he’s been told to remove it by the management of the development he bought his house in:
“People got signs in their windows. There’s a Happy Mother’s Day sign. There’s all kinds of signs all over the place here and nothing is said,” Kriso said.
He got a copy of the bylaws when he bought the house in January. It said that only “For Sale” signs are forbidden, WEWS reported.
The bylaws also forbid excessive lawn ornaments, of which he says his neighbor has plenty.
The park manager wouldn’t talk to NewsChannel5 on camera, but after talking with both parties, it’s believed that the case will likely be settled in court.
Not only is this likely a violation of Bill’s First Amendment rights on a couple of counts, but all things considered that sign is far from being obnoxious compared to what some folks have put up in honor of their imaginary sky fairy. All this is likely to do is generate a fair amount of negative publicity for the managers of the development and give the Far Right more ammunition for claiming that us atheists want to remove all mention of God(s) from everywhere including the privacy of your own home, which simply isn’t true.
So let me go on the record right here and now and say that Bill Kriso has every right to put up his sign thanking Jesus in the window of his home and I fully encourage him to fight for his right to do so in court if necessary. Bill seems dead set on fighting the good fight as well:
“They can have my sign; they can take it down over my dead body,” Kriso said. “They’re going to have to kill me to get that sign down. I mean that.”
OK, so he’s still very much a nutcase, but I don’t think this battle will ever come close to that kind of showdown. He has two very good legs to stand on both from a Freedom of Speech and a Freedom of Religion aspect and there’s not a whole lot of a counterargument I can foresee from the development folks that would override those basic rights.