NOVI, Mich. – One resident here believes his right to freedom of religion is being violated.
The focus of the controversy is a statue of the Virgin Mary that sits in the man's front yard. Joseph Samona says he is being forced to remove the statue.
“It’s a symbol of peace,” Samona said.
But Samona said the symbol of peace is causing a lot of problems, adding that, “We think it’s an attack on Christianity.”
His housing association is demanding he remove the Virgin Mary statue.
“We received a letter from the association saying that there were statues, lawn ornaments, that were in violation,” Samona said.
Local 4 obtained a copy of the letter. Samona said this is not the first time he’s been under attack.
“We have been through this before. We went through this in 2005, with our nativity scene. And the strong media publicity caused the association to back off. In 2009, we received a letter from the association regarding our Virgin Mary statue, and we refused to step down again and the association never proceeded any further,” Samona said.
He is hoping this time around, the outcome will be similar.
“We don’t know what’s going on over here. We just want to be able to freely practice our religion. Whether you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever you are, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t practice your religion,” Samona said.
Local 4 reached out to the housing association, but has not heard back.