ONE OHIO MAN’S controversial Christmas display has been allowed this year, after some structural adjustments prevented fines.
Last year, Jasen Dixon’s “zombie nativity” provoked worldwide attention, outrage, as well as zoning violation notices.
And this year, he was threatened with a $500-a-day fine, before he agreed to remove the roof, in a case which local authority official Harry Holbert said was not about the zombie figures – disturbing and even sacrilegious to some.
The display, in the front garden of Dixon’s home in Sycamore township, near Cincinnati, might be unconventional, but it has all the components of a proper nativity scene.
There’s a sharp-toothed, greyish baby Jesus, with black-ringed eyes, sitting in the manger:
A scarred, desperate-looking Mary:
Joseph, complete with shepherd’s outfit and blood dripping down his chin:
And of course, the Three Wise Men:
Dixon accepts that the nativity scene isn’t to everyone’s taste, telling local TV channel WCPO “Zombies and baby Jesus kind of made a lot of people mad.”
But the fines and criticism from those calling it an “abomination,” has led to a wave of support for the project, which has its own Facebook page, and has become something of a cottage industry – selling t-shirts and stickers.
Many – including some devout Christians – have expressed solidarity with Dixon, emphasising the free speech aspects of the controversy.
One Facebook commenter wrote:
I absolutely HATE the nativity scene. But it is your right to do as you wish. I hope this goes to court and you win.
Holbert, who sent Dixon a legal letter threatening the fines, says the content of the display did not come into consideration, telling WCPO:
When you have a structure that’s 15 feet tall, and probably 100 square feet, the zoning code says you can’t have that.
It had absolutely nothing to do with zombies…
He made the structure compliant with the zoning code, and we’re done. We move on.
Contains reporting by the Associated Press.