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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Deputy General Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, once a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Jul 15, 2019

The HOA told the Morris Family they were not able to display their Christmas decorations on the basis of religion. This violates the Fair Housing Act which ensures no religious discrimination. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


Jeremy Morris likes to decorate for Christmas. Actually, that’s underselling it by quite a bit.  Jeremy Morris, and his wife Kristy, decorate nearly every inch of their home with Christmas lights. 

The display in northern Idaho became such a hit at Christmas time, they decided to make it a community event.  When folks would stop by to see the display, they would invite them onto their driveway for hot chocolate, a picture with Santa, and even an opportunity to share with them the Biblical story of Christmas.

When the Morris’s decided to move into a new neighborhood, they looked at the homeowner’s association’s covenants and didn’t see any problem with the display.  Still, wanting to be good neighbors, they gave the HOA a heads up. That’s when things took a turn.

The HOA explained in a letter that “some of our residents are non-Christians or of another faith,” noting that they were concerned for the “problems that could bring up.” 

So, on the basis of religion, they told them they could not decorate their house at Christmas—even though houses in the neighborhood are decorated for Halloween. 

So, Jeremy filed a lawsuit and a jury determined that the HOA violated the Fair Housing Act, engaging in religious discrimination.  But, soon after, a federal judge overruled the jury’s verdict!

First Liberty has taken on the appeal, hoping to restore the jury’s verdict.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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