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Old 03-04-2010, 04:58 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,402 times
Reputation: 11

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I just received notice from the leasing office that my Tibetan prayer flags on my porch must be removed. They have been up since I moved in last summer, but the "owners" will be on site and they've asked me to remove them all of the sudden. When I explained what they are the 20-something leasing agents had no clue that these were an expression of my faith not merely decoration. I investigated OR state housing law and didn't find much except for an interesting case where an Albany, OR apt. community tried to ban US flags and quickly reversed their decisions. The lease only mentions "signs or posters". As a practicing Buddhist, I walk a peaceful non-confrontational path and have never been put in this position before. I'm not even sure spiritually how to respond, so I thought I would seek advice from other posters -- legally or spiritually, any advice??
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
9,811 posts, read 15,915,455 times
Reputation: 6220
Take a look at your lease. It may be that any flags on your porch are prohibited, no harm in asking the property manager why you are being asked to remove them/it.
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:55 PM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
6,817 posts, read 14,598,412 times
Reputation: 8834
If they are the metal ones, do they clank? Some condos/apartments don't allow wind chimes and other clanking/clanging things.
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:52 PM
 
75 posts, read 262,778 times
Reputation: 28
If there are restrictions of what you can have on your porch/patio, it probably won't matter if they are decorative or religious. I don't think it's too unusual to have a flag restriction.

I do know what the flags look like, and they do resemble a colorful banner...quite beautiful, actually :-).
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:42 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
1,657 posts, read 3,881,373 times
Reputation: 889
You may be caught between a hammer and an anvil.

Your prayer flags are a proclamation and display of your religion. My guess is that only a few citizens of Oregon would know, or have the ken to understand, the difference between religious symbol flags of your faith, and decoration. So, what is the owner's position on external proclamations of faith? (Technically, in some rental places, the renter only rents the interior space, with no rights beyond the apartment door.)

The other problem falls under the "Well, He can do it, why can't I" followed by the fake shock that a non-traditional religious belief outside the mainstream culture of the lower 48 states, is grated privileges not granted to others. Never mind that their desire is for decoration, yours is a public proclamation of faith. Aside: what was the policy on Xmas lights and decorations during the December holidays? My place only allows lights on the inside of the windows. Absolutely no decorations on the exterior of the front door, or outside of the apartment.

When I lived back east, there was a large gap between Real Estate contract law and the powers of Government. One cannot escape the powers of the Government, and thus restrictions are placed on it. Real Estate contract law, presumes both parties are equal and adults and the contract can be set-aside, as in canceled. So the courts have a dim view of getting involved unless there was an "overriding concern to the larger general public" (think racial discrimination)

I'm guessing it will be real tough to prove you are being singled out for religious faith-based discrimination. And demonstrate that any Landlord's policy is not being equally and uniformly applied to all religious proclamations exterior to the rental apartment; A symbolic door knocker is one thing, flags that can be seen from the sidewalk is another.

Best of luck to you.

Phil
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:44 PM
 
Location: southern california
55,237 posts, read 72,437,255 times
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buddism is wonderful esp zen. however, you must respect the law and your agreements.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:34 AM
 
333 posts, read 695,297 times
Reputation: 261
It's as simple as the lease. Ask them to show you exactly where in your lease it forbids you to put up decorative flags...and they are just "decorative" to most people who have no idea what they are. If this is a case of them having a problem with the flags being religious then make them come right out and say it, and then more options may open up for you. I think the prayer flags are wonderful and I hope you can beat this bureaucratic nonsense.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
9,811 posts, read 15,915,455 times
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Consider too that the flags may flap in the wind and disturb neighbors.

I doubt that the religious nature of the flags is a concern to anyone although a Nazi or KKK flag would be an issue.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
20,873 posts, read 22,456,852 times
Reputation: 32624
I agree with Nell. It more than likely isn't a religious issue. Many apartment buildings in which I have lived had restrictions on what the tenants could put on the outside of their apartments. One had a rule against wind chimes because some people felt they were a disturbance. Apartments I have rented in Portland didn't mind people planting flowers; most in Chicago did.

It's just a matter of rules set by whomever owns the property. You have to respect those rules when you sign your rental contract.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:46 PM
 
2,147 posts, read 4,188,312 times
Reputation: 1636
Quote:
Originally Posted by philwithbeard View Post
You may be caught between a hammer and an anvil.

Your prayer flags are a proclamation and display of your religion. My guess is that only a few citizens of Oregon would know, or have the ken to understand, the difference between religious symbol flags of your faith, and decoration. So, what is the owner's position on external proclamations of faith? (Technically, in some rental places, the renter only rents the interior space, with no rights beyond the apartment door.)

The other problem falls under the "Well, He can do it, why can't I" followed by the fake shock that a non-traditional religious belief outside the mainstream culture of the lower 48 states, is grated privileges not granted to others. Never mind that their desire is for decoration, yours is a public proclamation of faith. Aside: what was the policy on Xmas lights and decorations during the December holidays? My place only allows lights on the inside of the windows. Absolutely no decorations on the exterior of the front door, or outside of the apartment.

When I lived back east, there was a large gap between Real Estate contract law and the powers of Government. One cannot escape the powers of the Government, and thus restrictions are placed on it. Real Estate contract law, presumes both parties are equal and adults and the contract can be set-aside, as in canceled. So the courts have a dim view of getting involved unless there was an "overriding concern to the larger general public" (think racial discrimination)

I'm guessing it will be real tough to prove you are being singled out for religious faith-based discrimination. And demonstrate that any Landlord's policy is not being equally and uniformly applied to all religious proclamations exterior to the rental apartment; A symbolic door knocker is one thing, flags that can be seen from the sidewalk is another.

Best of luck to you.

Phil
I don't really think Op needs to get all legal about this. I think you are leaping from pt A to pt Z. It's not a personal affront,just a business policy...ie,if it's in the lease,then it's part of your contractual agreement. If it's not,then you just explain and get it resolved.

I really find this emotionally overreactive college dissident type of mindset alot in the pdx thread. calm down. it's nothing personal and i dont know why the thread has to turn into a discussion about macro level government and leasing law relationships.

It is probably,as OP says,a clueless issue on the part of the leasing agents who are trying to make sure they provide the best image for the building owners. They are just doing their job,and have no thoughts whatsoever about religion,spirituality or not. They would probably ask someone to remove a cross,or Mary figurine,as well.

OP should buy a home,without a HOA. Or rent from a private owner with similar views.
In the end,I am sure the flags can go back up-after the owners are gone,or once the situation has been clarified from a religious freedom point of view. [unless of course a lease was signed with this clause prohibiting hanging of items.]

It's nothing personal,nor is it confrontational or un-buddhist,to clarify your situation with the leasing company. The confrontation feeling you are having comes from your being/feeling/reacting defensively due to taking it personally,as though it were literally between the building owners and you,personally,as a human being. It is not. It is a policy being implemented,and you happen to be impacted by said policy at the moment. [the confrontation is w/in yourself-you are viewing it from a typical western,self-centered focal point].
This is non-attachment and discernment at work,the middle path.
Not peace and spiritual expression,which are subjective experiences and emotional attachments/neuroses.

Last edited by lrmsd; 03-05-2010 at 03:49 PM.. Reason: typo
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