So this Michigan couple has spent some $750,000 building their dream home and during construction they decide on a whim to have the bricklayer arrange some of the bricks on one outside wall so that they spell out the message “JESUS IS KING.” Not a problem, right? According to the Heather Lake Homeowners Association it certainly is and an initial court case between them and the home owners seemed to agree with them, but fortunately for the Heins an appeals court overturned this decision and the message is allowed to stay.
After the three-story, cylindrical turret was built—complete with a saw-toothed top, just like a medieval castle—neighbors noticed the “JESUS IS KING” inscription.
Putting a religious message in the turret stones “was kind of an afterthought on the part of my client. He’s a Catholic gentleman and he’s in a Bible study program at his church. He got to talking with his brick mason and they came up with this,” said Constance Cumbey, the Heins’ attorney.
The mason, also a devout Christian, “got to talking about a Biblical passage that says something like, ‘If the people were silent, the stones would cry out.’ ”
“They said they could make these stones cry out. And they did.”
So did the home owners association.
“We filed suit because the construction didn’t conform with the plans as approved,” Heldt said. “It’s not the message, per se. . . . It would be just like having ‘M Go Blue’ up there—that wouldn’t be tasteful either.”
Cumbey argued before Judge Alice Gilbert that the inscription complied with the plans.
“There were no specific restrictions about how the bricks and other materials were to be arranged. And the plans had been approved,” she said. “It’s very tasteful. It’s not garish. You almost have to know it’s there to see it.”
Nevertheless, Gilbert eventually ordered the inscription removed. The Heins appealed and posted a $5,000 bond, allowing the lettering to stay while the case was pending.
This week, three judges of the state Court of Appeals reversed Gilbert’s decision.
I often rant and rave about religion showing up in inappropriate places such as the Ten Commandments on court house walls and when I do I advocate people who feel the need to display such messages make use of their own private property to do so. Here was a situation where someone did and they still got sued over it and that’s just wrong in my mind.
I’ve seen the wall in question on the local news and it’s hard to see anything to be upset about. If the message was lit-up with bright garish neon I could maybe see a complaint, but some bricks that happen to spell out a religious message (or even a pro-sports message) shouldn’t be anything to start a court case over. It’s their home for crying out loud, if they want to paint a friggin’ Jesus mural on one wall they should have the right to do so and I’d be the first to stand up in their defense. Hopefully the homeowners association won’t pursue this any further.