A Louisiana woman took an argument with her neighbors to a new level this holiday season. She fashioned Christmas lights on her roof in the shape of the human hand flipping the bird. As expected, some of the neighbors were not pleased.
Police in the town of Denham Springs approached the owner of the lights, Sarah Henderson or Childs, both surnames have been used in stories. They threatened to arrest her if she did not take them down. Police contented that it violated anti-obscenity laws. Childs took the lights down, but the ACLU then became involved.
However, there is a problem with the city’s anti-obsecenity statute police welded against Childs. It doesn’t exist.
With the ACLU’s backing, Childs put the lights back up, only to be forced by the police to take them back down twice more when she was again threatened with arrest and fines. In those instances, Childs put up more lights, showing two hands flipping the middle finger.
Childs appears to have been the target of police intimidation after that. She received two tickets unrelated to the lights. One ticket was for obstructing traffic as she walked down the sidewalk. The other was for singing an obscene song about her neighbors as she stood outside her home.
With the ACLU, Childs’ sought an injunction at the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge. The court ruled there that something called the First Amendment existed, even in Denham Springs. The court barred Denham Springs and the police from interfering with her light display. Denham Springs officials finally comprehended that the Constitution trumps their personal morality.
Childs has also considered another image for the Christmas lights – a swastika. This one would be directed at the city instead of her neighborhood.
Here’s a video of the offending Christmas lights with a picture.