Despite objections from local zoning officials and Christian groups, a Cincinnati couple has constructed a zombie-themed Nativity scene on their front yard for the second year in a row.
The macabre scene comes complete with Mary, Joseph, undead wise men and a demonic, sharp-toothed baby Jesus in a manger. At night, rainbow-colored lights showcase the scene while a haunted version of "Silent Night" plays in the background.
The Nativity scene was first erected last year as a publicity stunt to bring some visitors to the "13 Rooms of Doom" haunted house that Dixon ran. However, the couple was compelled to remove the display after local officials told them they needed a permit.
This year, the pair's permit application was declined, and they were told the nativity scene couldn't be up because it violated Sycamore Township's zoning code.
"I think it's the theme. It just rubs people the wrong way and it puts the spotlight on me. That's why they're coming down so hard on me," Dixon told WKRC, explaining that he and his wife are refusing to take down the display.
The couple could face a fee of $500 a day as the deadline that zoning officials gave the couple to remove the structure has passed.
"Last year they apparently dropped the charges," Dixon wrote in a Facebook message. "This year we must have made them mad because they are hounding us about it."
Religious groups have also taken issue with the creepy display: a local Baptists has reportedly left flyers outside the Dixon home warning that God "frowns upon this manger scene."
"If you read the scriptures closely," the Baptists' letter begins, "the God of the Bible is not only a God of love, but also a God of wrath. God never expresses even the slightest inkling of humor towards demons or, in this case, zombies...Jesus has supreme power over death and evil; he is not a zombie."
Others have taken to social media to slam the display, calling it "blasphemous" and a "pure mockery of the first prophecy in the Bible."
"Jesus Christ is not to be mocked. I rebuke this Nativity scene in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth," wrote one opponent.
Added another, "The jokes & the mocking of the Savior of the world will not come so easy to you when you are standing before him. This I can promise you."
In turn, the Dixons have argued that the scene has nothing to do with religion, calling it "a wonderful piece of artwork" and clarifying "We are not Atheist."
They are also asking for donations to cover any fines they might face: "If you love the nativity scene as much as we do, help us out!!" reads the page description. Thus far, they have raised $1,279.