City Orders Removal of Ohio Man’s Zombie Nativity Scene

12341215_511490252345357_7300967077313244812_nTis the season for holiday display litigation. In Sycamore, Ohio, Jasen Dixon has been cited for putting up a Nativity scene in the front of his house. Dixon’s vision however has a zombie baby that many find offensive. The citation raises serious first amendment questions in the application of a code provision barring “accessory structures” in a front yard. That seems a vague concept and one that is prone to arbitrary or capricious applications. The question is whether other, more conventional holiday displays have been allowed.

Dixon has already been fined $500 and has removed the roof of the decoration to see if it will comply with the regulation.

Dixon insists that this is art and free expression. He has a plausible case if he can show that he has been singled out for this treatment by the city. I fail to see how a holiday decoration would be defined as an accessory structure or the basis for prohibiting such decorations given their political, religious, or artistic content.

What do you think?

Source: Washington Post

21 thoughts on “City Orders Removal of Ohio Man’s Zombie Nativity Scene”

  1. Heheheh. Zombie Jesus? Now that’s funny.

    Despite the fact that I do believe that Jesus is not a zombie but a baby born in Bethelem, it still doesn’t detract from the fact the guy decided to do something else humorous. Just because many find it so offensive doesn’t mean the city should cite him, fine him, then ask him to take it down just for the sake of religious mending.

    Church and State has to be separated. Cultural norms, religious norms, etc. and so on, do not enter into the realm of politics at all. These stay at home within their personal boundaries.

    Frankly, I find it humorous. Dark, wrong in ‘religious context’, but just funny. I wouldn’t remove the nativity scene myself, nor could I compel him to be fined $500, and/or forced to remove it all out of everyone’s sight. The 1st Amendment does establish the establishment clause but it also grants the right to everyone to practice their religion. Just because said religion is dominant in the community does not mean said religion should cast out those with fines, imprisonment, just because they don’t proscribe to said religious community’s beliefs.

    It’s sort of like trying to root out heretics, and then upon finding them living among them, many of the people would say, “Heresy! Heresy! String him out! Let’s hang him in our gallows, burn him to ashes!” Of course, it did happen in the medieval ages and then. Today? I’m sure we need to be a lot more civilized and understand that the Constitution actively protects not just one religion but more than one but also actively protects others, who don’t believe, from being persecuted at all.

    But man… That guy… He brought something new to Christmas. Also, on a sidenote: Christmas is not the day of Jesus’s birth. Until someone could provide me proof, there have been no records chronologically recording Jesus’s birth in Bethelem.

    1. Texan Polygynist – Jesus was probably born in the spring of the year anyway. Not winter. Xmas was selected to take over a pagan feast. Christianity has borrowed from more religions than any I know. 🙂

  2. Hate speech. He’ doesnt have it up all year long….just when everyone else does christmas. Just to be a jerk. His time manner and place is halloween. Why be such an azz? Cuz he can. So he should be ignored. Or guilt tripped and shamed. Sing carols in front of his house all night long.

  3. Zombies gross me out, but he has the right to display it, just like anyone else.

    People should just avert their eyes.

    We cherish our freedom of speech and religion, which means we have to defend the rights of others whose opinions we disagree with. And find humor where we can. It’s clearly meant to be irreverent humor. There is a lexicon of religious humor ranging from tongue in cheek to morbid. Laugh or avert your eyes.

  4. The problem is that the fascists wear us out.

    We fulminate on blogs, we sign petitions, we send money and the fascists keep coming (sort of like the zombies in this display).

    The left attacks the 1st and 2nd amendments in the name of safety and political correctness; the right attacks the 4th and 5th amendments in the name of safety.

    I fear that “the people” no longer want the Bill of Rights (or they don’t until their ox is gored).

  5. The guy needs drive around town with a camera and photograph anything which is of similar nature which is not being outlawed. Post the photos on the web. Go to the homes of any and all city officials and check for xmas apCray in their front yards. A Jesus figure would be good to photograph and preserve for posterity and court. Maybe Jesus hanging cn a cross in front of a home or church. That is pretty ugly.
    Maybe he ought to have a Jesus figure put into the same frame work as now exists and see if they relent.

  6. He should change it to the traditional Creche (same size), get that approved, and then sue them for discrimination.

  7. I think he has a perfect right to his display and I do get a chuckle out of it. Would like to see the rest of it. Problem is the lower the court the less justice there is.

  8. Remember the First Amendment was created because one Christian denomination was persecuting anyone that didn’t follow their doctrine – including other Christians. Theocracy is always a tyranny even Christian theocracies.

  9. Unless this poses a physical or health hazard to the public I don’t see why this should be treated any differently than any other distasteful nativity display, a.k.a. the rest of them. I don’t care if people put up nativity scenes or other overtly religious displays on their own property, but do not try to put it on public property, such as at city hall, unless the city is willing to let EVERYBODY else who wants to put up a display for their religion to put up such a display no matter whether people want it or not, and then post a police guard to protect all of them from the inevitable vandals. The best policy is to simply not put up any overtly religious displays on public property.

    This story makes me want to put up a zombie display of my own!

  10. Donald, LOL! The flick, Zombieland, is a guilty pleasure. It seems the 1st Amendment is currently involved in a 2 front war, from the left and right. Now, the blitzkrieg is from the left, but their are guerrilla forces causing havoc on the right as well. We libertarians need to grab our muskets and head toward the gunfire.

  11. Followed this story last year and although slightly macabre I enjoyed his sick sense of humor… and believe in his right to display. Guess that after the zombie apocalypse it’ll all be moot!

  12. Bad taste, sure. Criminal, no. We are on the road to theocracy. Free speech is being dismantled as we “speak”.

    As to the question asked, I would be surprised if conventional manger scenes have resulted in fines. Generally it is my understanding that temporary structures, if it qualified as a structure at all, of this type would not be covered by an accessory structure prohibition

  13. An unforgettable quote, from the Director of Public Safety/Code Enforcement in my town, that I will never

    forget, “The law is a guideline.”

    And why the code was not enforced when it supported my position, a one-word response, “Policy.”

    Translation: We, the political machine in this city, do whatever we want.

    _____

    This small city political machine was a corrupt “fiefdom” the same as each branch of government.

    Yep, America has not been the same since Lincoln’s “Reign of Terror” and nullification of the Constitution.

    There is a reason officials are sworn to uphold law and the Constitution.

    A word from Mr. Madison:

    June 8, 1789

    “I should be unwilling to see a door opened…because I doubt,… if we should be very likely to stop at that

    point which would be safe…”

    Certainly ten amendments were sufficient to stand the test of time.

    Certainly the genius of the Founders was sufficient to stand the test of time.

    Madison et al. failed to factor corruption into the equation.

    _____

    Full quote:

    “I should be unwilling to see a door opened for a re-consideration of the whole structure of the government, for a re-consideration of the principles and the substance of the powers given; because I doubt, if such a door was opened, if we should be very likely to stop at that point which would be safe to the government itself:…”

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