Messy yard cops say f*ck "Freedom of Religion" and f*ck the "First Amendment"!
As an atheist I think all religion is just superstition. But I still demand that the government allow people freedom of religion and allow them to worship whatever nutty things they believe in.
Cross in elderly LA woman's yard stirs controversy
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A nearly 25-foot cross in the front yard of an elderly woman's home is stirring controversy in a Los Angeles neighborhood.
Neighbors complain the cross is an eyesore that is attracting unwanted attention to their San Fernando Valley cul-de-sac and hurting their property values.
The cross has drops of blood-red paint in the area where Jesus' hands and feet would have been nailed. It also features a crown of thorns and a sign that says, "Jesus I trust in you."
"When you turn down our cul-de-sac, it looks like there is a church on our street," Laurie Biener of the West Hills neighborhood told the Daily News (http://bit.ly/o2JvuK).
Neighbors' complaints have prompted city building inspectors to take a look at the cross. They're expected to determine this week whether it complies with zoning rules or should be removed.
Homeowner Laly Dobener said she erected the cross to express her devotion to her Catholic faith and hopes her religious freedom will be protected.
"I don't understand what my neighbors are so upset about," the 72-year-old told the newspaper. "This cross isn't hurting anyone."
Two-story cross has West Hills neighbors fuming
By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/20/2011 01:00:00 AM PDT
A West Hills woman has erected a nearly 25-foot cross in her front yard to the dismay of her neighbors on Hyannis Drive. (Dean Musgrove/Staff Photographer)
After Laly Dobener lost her husband 15 years ago and watched her grown children move away to start their own families, she dedicated most of her days and nights to her Catholic faith.
It was her faith that led the petite 72-year-old to erect a 24-foot cross on the front lawn of her West Hills home. But the monument has infuriated some of the neighbors, who complain the symbol is an eyesore that is attracting lookie-loos to their quiet cul-de-sac and hurting their property values.
While residents have complained to city officials and the Department of Building and Safety in an effort to get the cross removed, Dobener said she hopes her religious freedom will be protected.
"I don't understand what my neighbors are so upset about," Dobener said in an interview. "This cross isn't hurting anyone.
"It is my way of expressing my love to God and to the world ... to bring God's love to everyone."
Dobener's neighbors on Hyannis Drive, however, are not feeling the love.
"When you turn down our cul-de-sac it looks like there is a church on our street," said neighbor Laurie Biener.
"It's bad enough how property values are these days. Then you have something like this affecting them even more ... It's like she's making a statement for the whole neighborhood, and that is just not right."
Biener, who has lived in the hilltop neighborhood for nine years, said many residents have asked Dobener to dismantle the cross.
"Many people find it offensive, but people are afraid to say something," Biener said.
Biener said most of her neighbors are concerned about the large size of the cross, but eyebrows are also raised by its graphic nature.
The two-story cross has drops of blood-red paint in the areas where Christ's hands and feet would have been nailed, according to biblical accounts of his crucifixion.
A crown of thorns rings the cross and a sign is posted reading, "Jesus I trust in you."
Dobener said the cross was erected to specific guidelines, in accordance with her belief in the "Cross of Love," a splinter group of Christians launched in the 1980s. The movement was started by members of a church in Dozule, France, who said God told them in a series of apparitions to build crosses to ensure their salvation.
Internet websites credit members of the movement with erecting thousands of crosses around the world, including the predominantly Catholic countries of France, Italy, Mexico and Argentina. However, the movement is not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.
According to the movement, crosses must be 24 feet tall and painted blue and white. The 9-foot-long arms must face east and west.
Dobener, a retired baker, said other Cross of Love followers donated the materials and the money for her to erect the cross.
Dave Lara, a spokesman for the Department of Building and Safety, said inspectors will determine this week whether the cross complies with Los Angeles zoning rules. The issue centers on whether the cross is deemed a sign or a structure, since different zoning rules apply to each.
Stories about residents erecting large crosses on their properties have been reported in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Local officials in those cases ordered residents to remove the crosses, citing zoning rules.
However, both are expected to end up in court, where many believe they could be used as test cases of religious rights.
In addition to the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion, a federal law passed in 2000 also protects religious expression.
The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act says agencies cannot impose restrictions that hinder a right to religious expression unless they have a "compelling governmental interest."
Luke Goodrich, an attorney at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has litigated several religious freedom cases, said the burden of proof lies with the government agencies, which have to prove that the religious symbol could harm residents or pose a hazard.
"Sometimes opposition to religious land use could be based on religious discrimination," Goodrich said. "That discrimination is very easy to mask in the land-use context behind things like wanting more green space, having concern over property values or worries about an eye sore.
"In many cases the question is would you deal with it in the same way if it was tacky Christmas decorations or a tacky color choice for a house," he said.
As far as Dobener is concerned, she said she'd rather not predict whether her cross will land her in court.
"I don't even want to think about it," Dobener said.
"At this point I am leaving everything in the hands of God."