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Wreath is spiritual, not anti-war

Nov. 30, 2006

Ben Humeniuk/Lariat Staff
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In the 1960s the circular symbol of peace was inked on hundreds of different things such as T-shirts, posters, flags and human flesh. The symbol was the icon of the anti-war movement of the time, and since then it has gained international recognition, along with its counterpart, the peace sign.

Following in the controversial symbol's historic footsteps, a Christmas wreath shaped as a peace symbol has sparked controversy among residents of a Denver neighborhood.

The homeowners association of the neighborhood has asked the resident to remove the wreath because it feels it symbolizes an anti-war sentiment in a place where families and friends of Iraq soldiers live. Some residents also complained that the symbol is a sign of the devil. The association threatened the homeowner to a $25 per day fine until she removes the wreath from the exterior of her home. The owner, however, refuses to remove the wreath -- a decision that may cost her almost $1,000 in fines.

While the symbol of peace may anger some neighbors, it's ridiculous that the association has threatened to fine the resident for displaying a symbol of what she called her "spiritual beliefs." Christmas lights, nativities and other exterior decorations are symbols of spiritual beliefs.

But what would happen if someone complained to the neighborhood association that they feel offended by Christmas decorations? It's doubtful the resident would be fined for their holiday decor.

If the resident hung a sign on the front of her house saying, "I hope all the soldiers in Iraq die," that would be grounds for controversy. Yet the resident isn't voicing any beliefs other than peace -- a goal that all military families probably share, too.

The neighborhood association sent the resident a letter reading that they "will not allow signs, flags, etc. that can be considered divisive."

The wreath is a symbol of the resident's spiritual hope and belief that peace is important. That idea is specifically important to recognize during the holidays, a time that people reflect and hope for a better, more peaceful new year.