There is a controversy brewing in Nipomo, California over the right of a resident Ron Lake to display a decoration on his lawn depicting Jesus shooting Santa Claus. Neighbors want the display removed, but Lake insists that it is a work of art.
Lake insists that it is a political statement against the commercialism of Christmas. He added “[y]ou can tell your kids and make it as if there’s a Santa Claus, and let them believe all that, but you can’t explain these things or ignore this thing. I don’t get it.”
On the law, there is a first amendment right here that must be protected. Even under common law nuisance, such aesthetic nuisances claims are heavily disfavored even without the free speech elements.
Well, there is a difference between opposing the commercialization of Christmas and forcing it on passing children. I entirely support Lake’s right to have this display but I strongly disagree with his decision. While you may disagree with the commercialization of the holiday, this is a very traumatic image for young children who pass by the house. The display shows Jesus pointing a double-barreled shotgun at Santa’s dead body as Rudolph lays sprawled across the hood of a pickup truck nearby.
Lake insists that “It’s an expression of my repressed creativity.” Some creativity, Mr. Lake, might be better left repressed. Indeed, many of us call it restraint.
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