A zombie nativity scene in an Ohio homeowner’s front yard has drawn the ire of the town’s government, and the scene’s hosts are being assessed a fine of $500 per day until it’s taken down, Raw Story is reporting.
Homeowner Jasen Dixon manages a haunted house attraction (13 Room Haunted House), and so he has a lot of blood, gore, and similar props at his disposal. Last year, he decided to use those props for a fresh take on the concept of a nativity scene: Mary, Joseph, the three wise men, and the Baby Jesus were all represented as zombies. At the time, he told a local TV station that he thought the zombie nativity scene was a sort of art project, according to People.
“I wanted a zombie scene actually, a manger scene. All I had to work with since I work at 13 Room Haunted House is zombies. It’s a different take. I hand made everything, but Joseph and baby Jesus, so it’s kind of artsy.”
The government of Sycamore Township, Ohio, didn’t see it that way: they ordered the nativity scene taken down, citing a lack of a permit.
This year, Dixon applied for a permit for the zombie nativity scene but was denied. Dixon put the scene up anyway. In response, the township issued a $500 fine and will continue to issue another $500 fine for each day the nativity scene is up.
While the township cited technicalities in the building’s structure in denying his permit, Dixon believes that it’s really the zombies that are at the heart of the matter.
“I think it’s the theme. It just rubs people the wrong way. That’s why they’re coming down so hard on me.”
Just how upset the neighbors are with the zombie nativity scene is a matter of some dispute. Dixon claims that his own neighbors drive by and give him the thumbs up (although he admits that his own dad hates it). But a neighborhood church, it appears, sees things differently. Christian protesters were in front of Dixon’s house on Sunday, handing out pamphlets condemning the nativity scene.
Oddly enough, Mr. Dixon seems to think the protesters brought his nativity scene even more publicity, and he thanked them publicly on the scene’s Facebook page.
“Sorry to my Baptist friends, they don’t have much of a sense of humor. But thanks Frank Russell and Kyle Reynolds. For spending time and handing letters out on my street.”
In fact, other than the two “Baptist friends” and the town government, it seems like nobody really minds the zombie nativity scene all that much. Comments on the scene’s Facebook page are overwhelmingly positive.
“I’m a baptist and I love your manager scene. I love Halloween so heck yeah anything that carries out holiday over a little longer is awesome!! Those people really need a reality check. What’s in your yard is none of their business.”
“some a*****e bureaucrat trying to abuse his limited authority by saying you have to take down your nativity scene..but surprise!,that nativity scene is protected by our constitution as freedom of expression.”
Mr. Dixon has set up a crowdfunding page to raise money for his fines. As of this post, his legal defense fund has earned $275. He tells the New York Daily News that if he gets any more money than he needs through crowdfunding, he’ll donate the rest to St. Jude Children’s Hospital
Do you find the zombie nativity scene offensive and believe it needs to be taken down? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via Facebook]