It’s maybe one of our favorite blog posts titles of all time: “Zombies Outshine Satan? More Controversial Holiday Displays, Including Baby, Fanged, Undead Jesus and Dogs in Costumes.” The case of Baby, Fanged, Undead Jesus continues after Sycamore Township, Ohio fined Jasen Dixon, curator of the undead scene, for constructing an illegal structure in his front yard. Earlier this month Dixon disputed the Township’s fines in court, claiming his display was protected by the First Amendment.
For a little background, we wrote back in 2014:
Oh Holy Zombies? The manager of “13 Rooms of Doom Haunted House,” Jasen Dixon, wanted to celebrate Christmas like many do in Sycamore Township, Ohio—erect a front yard nativity scene. Dixon’s display is special, however, because he decided to work with the materials he had at hand. That’s right, zombies from the haunted house he manages.
Describing the undead scene, Dixon explained, “It’s a different take. I handmade everything but Joseph and baby Jesus so it’s kind of artsy….” A crowned wise man presents baby, fanged Jesus with a skull as undead Mary and Joseph look on. The somewhat ghoulish crowd is protected by an eight foot structure with roof, hay, lights, and what appears to be the skeleton of a dog.
Dixon has proclaimed that he will not let his “‘zombie Nativity’ display die without a fight,” WRAL.com reports. According to Township officials, it has no objection to zombies, just improper accessory structures. According to WPTV, the Township zoning code requires that any accessory structure must be in the backyard and 3 feet from any property line and 6 feet from any other structure.
Dixon is due back in court on February 2. He also appears to have the undying support from his backers, one of whom was jailed for contempt of court when he wore zombie make-up and tattered clothes to an unrelated civil trial in Cincinnati. In his contempt order, the judge wrote, the zombie “was growling into a megaphone and disrupted my trial.” (RLUIPA Defense has not independently verified the zombie’s connection to Dixon or if the “growling” included an audible request for “braaaaaaaiiiins.”)