It seems that every other week there’s something in the news about a homeowner who has to fight for his right to display the American flag on his property.
Well, how about a twist on an old favorite?
Some Pittsburgh residents are finding out the hard way that, much like the American flag stories, the homeowner’s association strictly adheres to rules prohibiting anything in designated “common ground” areas, even if it’s a statue of Our Lady.
“I had a Blessed Mother statue sitting out here,” Steven Vasko told CBS Pittsburgh, referring to the statute he had displayed just below one of the condominium’s windows.
“Yeah it was taken,” Vasko said. “The association—they stole it.”
And he’s not making wild accusations. The homeowner’s association actually had someone remove the 150-pound cement statue from where the Vaskos had placed it, reports CBS.
What was the association’s justification for removing the statue?
It’s “common ground.” No one is allowed to have anything these designated areas, so the statue had to go.
And it doesn’t end there.
After the association removed his statue from the property, they notified him that he would have to pay a fine if he ever wanted to see it again.
“I have to pay a fine,” he said. “Would that be extortion or kidnapping? You tell me, I don’t know.”
See the CBS report:
Prior to the Blessed Mother’s kidnapping, the Vaskos were also being fined by the association for every month they violated policy by having the statue outside “illegally.” Currently, the total fine for displaying the statue–which the Vaskos refuse to pay–is $4,000.
But wait, there’s more.
Because the Vaskos refuse to pay the fines, the homeowner’s association has also revoked the family’s rights for them to park on the property.
“This is religious persecution. This is discrimination. Is it a losing battle to hold your ground? No,” Vasko said. “If you are, then we might as well all quit as Americans and say, ‘Have a nice day, bye.’”
Currently, both sides refuse to back down. The association is sticking to its guns and Vasko refuses to budge on the issue. However, it’s probably safe to say that this fight is a little more personal for Vasko.
“I made a promise to the Blessed Mother and I’m keeping it,” Vasko said. “And this is about her. This isn’t about me.”