Couple Faces $500-a-Day Fine for Controversial Nativity Scene

A couple risks fines of up to $500 a day for the zombie-themed nativity scene that they refuse to take down, despite orders from zoning officials to remove it from their yard.

This is the second year that Jasen and Amanda Dixon have displayed the scene in front of their Cincinnati home, which features a zombie baby Jesus alongside an undead Mary and Joseph. Last year, officials told Jasen he didn’t have the proper permits for the holiday decorations, but ultimately dropped their objections, according to The New York Times.

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This zombie-themed nativity scene has stirred a local controversy. (Photo: Facebook/Zombie Nativity Scene)

This year, Jasen applied for a permit but was denied because “no accessory use structure shall be located in the front or side yard,” according to a letter from local officials posted on the nativity scene’s Facebook page. But Jasen says he’s being unfairly targeted because of the content of his display. “I think it’s the theme, [it] just rubs people the wrong way,” he told WKRC. “That’s why they are coming down so hard on me.”

On Facebook, the Dixons describe their nativity scene as “a wonderful piece of artwork,” and clarify that “we are not Atheist.”

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Local officials have ordered Jasen and Amanda Dixon to remove this zombie nativity scene from their front yard. (Photo: Facebook/Zombie Nativity Scene)

Religious groups have also objected to the scene. A local Baptist group even handed out letters of protest on the Dixon’s street, dropping a notice titled “God Frowns Upon This Manger Scene” in front of zombie baby Jesus. “Jesus has supreme power over death and evil,” the letter read, according to a photo on Facebook. “He is not a zombie.”

While the letter denying the Dixons’ permit was dated December 2 and read the scene “must be removed immediately,” Jasen told WKRC he hasn’t yet received a fine. But he and his wife are already preparing for that possibility and have started a fundraising page to help with any penalties. The site, which has raised more than $1,300 in a week, has a goal of $5,000. That money will go towards fines and legal fees, and also towards next year’s structure, according to a message on their page.

For now, Jasen says he won’t be removing the nativity scene. “It’s not hurting anything,” he told WKRC, “and it’s here for not even a month.”

(Top photo: Facebook/Zombie Nativity Scene)

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