Family Ordered to Take Down Christmas Display After Neighbor Claims It's 'Offensive'

A Gettysburg, Pennsylvania man was asked to take down a Jesus Christmas decoration after a neighbor called it offensive.

Mark Wivell, who lives at the Courtyards community at The Links at Gettysburg, put a hand-made "Jesus" sign outside his house on Dec. 16. The sign is lit and spells out Jesus' name in red garland. He told the Gettysburg Times on Thursday that he received an email from a member of the Courtyards Executive Board, asking it be taken down the next day.

Wivell told the Times his neighbor called the sign "offensive." Courtyards President Bud Vance wrote that the sign is not "in accordance with normal Christmas decorations."

This is the first year Wivell put up the sign and he was "quite frankly shocked" by the request to take it down. He has not taken it down, since he believes it doesn't break any rules about Christmas decorations. He even made sure to post the decoration in his mulch bed instead of the front yard to follow the rules.

"I just felt it was time to acknowledge I'm a Christian," he told the Times.

"As part of our Christmas decoration, we would display the name Jesus to point out to everyone that we in this family believe that the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus," Wivell told Fox43.

Wivell received another email, which was written by all three members of the executive board. In this one, the members quoted the community rules, which reads, "No signs or billboard of any kind shall be displayed to the public view on any unit."

"We simply cannot decide to enforce some standards and allow other standards to be ignored," the second email reads.

The board also said it has no issue with the content of the sign, just its "size, structure, and illumination." But Wivell says it is a "Christmas decoration," not a sign, and there are no specific rules about those.

“It is, indeed, unfortunate that our attention has been unnecessarily redirected in this manner with a suggestion that Scrooge is alive and well in our community," the Courtyards HOA board said in a statement to Fox43. "Many of our families will be in church on Monday with their spirit diminished by this attack."


Wivell and his wife Lynn plan on keeping the sign up until Jan. 15, when decorations need to be taken down by.

Photo credit: Twitter/ @MikeGorsegner