Joseph Samona and his family have a lovely statue of the Virgin Mary in the garden at their home. Samona says that the family gathers to pray at the statue twice daily. It is a part of their celebration of their Catholic religion, and something that is a very private affair.
However, the homeowners’ association that governs the Samona’s neighborhood has other ideas and has ordered that the statue be removed. The Michigan man says he received a letter last week advising him that the statue is a violation of neighborhood policies.
As you may have guessed – Samona is not going away quietly and taking his Virgin Mary statue with him. “There is no doubt in my mind that this is an attack on our religion. We have already received an outpouring of support from friends and family, and we are prepared to fight this tooth and nail,” Samona said.
Ironically, Joseph Samona, who lives with his parents, says they immigrated from Iraq to the United States to escape religious persecution. That is one of the reasons the family is speaking publicly about this. Samona says religious freedom is a right that his family treasures.
The Samona’s have had other issues with their homeowners’ association. In 2003, they were ordered to remove a nativity scene from their front lawn. They hired a lawyer in that case, and won the right to keep the nativity in their yard.
According to an attorney for the homeowners’ association the order would be illegal only if the association was arbitrary in its enforcement of the rule. “They have the right to prohibit homeowners from putting up these items in their yards,” attorney Mark Linton said.
Joseph Samona says that he and his family will fight this order just as they did the earlier one.
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