In Baldwin, Pa., Carl Behr has decided to wage a one-man crusade against unseen atheists in his neighborhood. His solution? Erecting a 25-foot lighted cross on his yard facing his neighbor and another on his roof. I saw this on Reddit and it makes for an interesting nuisance case.
Behr calls it “a measurement of my faith” while the neighbor would call it a nuisance. He insists “[t]he way the world’s coming with all these atheists, it makes me sick to my stomach. If I can turn one soul towards the Lord with my sign, it was well worth all my efforts.” That goal appears to be achieved in this case by depriving his neighbor of the use and enjoyment of her property — and sleep.
City officials have asked Baldwin to turn off the lights. He seems to have skipped Luke 10:25-28 in his Biblical studies:
25And one day an authority on the law stood up to put Jesus to the test. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?”
26What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you understand it?” 27He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength and with all your mind.’(Deuteronomy 6:5) And, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ” 28“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do that, and you will live.”
However, Behr’s faith does not include treating one’s neighbor as you would have them treat yourself: “I’m measuring my faith to the Lord, that’s basically all I’m doing. I don’t care what anyone else thinks.”
A fight on the question could pit free speech against nuisance protections. Presumably, the only basis for a nuisance would be the actual lights. However, he could cite the fact that Christmas light are not treated a nuisances absent the most extreme lighting. His cross is actually illuminated by Christmas lights.
It still remains unclear how many atheists have been converted by seeing Behr’s lighted crosses or whether he has been able to show that the difference between an atheist and a Christian is usually the absence of a lighted cross.