Controversial Display Found in Leesburg

A skeleton, wearing a Santa suit, while being hung on a cross, surprises many in the downtown area.

A controverial display of a skeleton Santa hanging on a cross became quite the buzz on Monday after Middleburg resident Jeff Heflin hung his display outside of the county's courthouse.

According to his application, the purpose of the display was to depict society's materialistic obsessions and addictions and how it is killing the peace, love, joy and kindness that is supposed to be prevalent during the holiday season.

Councilman and Supervisor-elect Ken Reid said he was "utterly outraged" when he saw the display. "How offensive to children, especially, to see a beloved symbol of the holidays crucified," he said, in an email sent early Monday afternoon.

Reid suggested that someone contact Heflin and kindly request he remove such a "disgusting display and put it on his own lawn in Middleburg".

Loudoun County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Kraig Troxell said the skeleton was seen taken apart by a woman who placed it on the ground. More controversial displays are expected to appear between now and the end of the year.

kathleen fergus December 05, 2011 at 11:15 PM
What a moron.
L-burg mom December 06, 2011 at 02:29 AM
I fully support free speech, including this offensive display. I would also support and love to see others express their freedom of expression by attending the Leesburg Holiday & Christmas parade next Sat morning with big golf umbrellas positioned to shield children attending the parade from seeing this. (I would do so myself but have an obligation to escort my group of children in the parade.)
TravisW December 06, 2011 at 03:39 AM
L-burg mom, by your arguement throwing a tarp over the display during the parade is also supporting free speech. Afterall it's there, just no one has to see it.
L-burg mom December 06, 2011 at 03:57 AM
No, Travis, I would not support throwing a tarp over the display. Anyone who wants to see it could certainly go to see it -- a citizen with an umbrella can certainly be circumnavigated. I do support shielding children who would be confused or hurt by the display from seeing it. Parents who wish to conduct a civics lesson could still do so.
Nathaniel Hix December 06, 2011 at 06:34 AM
I just keep my kids and myself away from Old Town Leesburg during Christmas season. The inability of our legal system to prevent crap like this shows that something is really wrong with our society today. Deep down you know it's true.
Vickie Stengel Sylvain December 06, 2011 at 12:49 PM
If it is still up then I will be happy to shield it from the children seeing it. I probably could explain it to my 8 year old and he wouldn't be bothered, but not the younger kids!
kathleen fergus December 06, 2011 at 01:57 PM
What's the problem with knocking this down? Isn't that supporting free speech? After all, it is on public property. The 'politically correct' attitude of bowing down to this kind of nonsense is ridiculous. If it cannot be removed by the legal system, it should be removable by the same means which allowed it to be erected.
Kat DeMille December 06, 2011 at 02:39 PM
There is freedom of speech but it crosses the line when you step on someone's else respect & dignity. That is when it becomes something called hate speech. There is something in society called a moral compass. When we stop respecting that you have crossed the line in the sand of what is acceptable and not acceptable in respecting others is when the break down occurs. There is nothing wrong with believing in a little magic this time of year- but there is something wrong with wanting to destroy a child's innocence by destroying that magic.
Marshall December 06, 2011 at 02:41 PM
It's a shame that some loser(s), who never got the pony they asked Santa for, feel the need to pull crap like this and subject innocent children to these images. As an adult, I could care less about the display. What gets me mad, is the reject(s) who put this up, have no regard for the children. I'm all for free speech, but there is a big difference between free speech and offensive speech. L-burg mom, would you support a public "art" display that many would interpret as pornographic, and thus considered offensive?
kathleen fergus December 06, 2011 at 02:50 PM
I just don't understand the message. Is there one?
MichelleS December 06, 2011 at 07:27 PM
If you feel the need to display something that is hurtful to others, do so on your own lawn! Depictions of the nativity or a menorah are not hurtful, they just mean a lot to many. This display is disgusting, regardless of your religious or philosophical affiliation.
Loudoun mom December 06, 2011 at 10:26 PM
I am more troubled that a supervisor-elect would have a problem with the very free speech that so many have died to protect. He has no problem with kids having guns in their own homes, and even watching people kill living things with them....wouldn't they (kids) suffer more harm seeing that than this message? If we can't explain this to our kids, we are just bad parents! Have we ingrained the lie of Santa so much that it would cause seriuous harm to our kide to see this? Free speech is free for all, not just those one agrees with...a supervisor should know that!
L-burg mom December 07, 2011 at 03:22 AM
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" -- this is where true support of the Constitution is seen. It is easy to support freedom of speech among like-minded individuals; it is much harder to support something offensive. The problem with art that many would interpret as pornographic is figuring out how it is defined (adding fig leaves to classical sculptures?) I leave it to the courts to determine what is pornographic. For myself, I support free speech, and make my choice in how to respond to the free speech of others. I can choose to refuse to patronize establishments with policies I disagree with; I can engage individuals in debate on differing opinions; I can choose to respond with counter-speech, as I suggested with forming a human shield of umbrellas between parade-goers and the crucified skeletal Santa. I would not stop anyone who wished to see the display from doing so, but would actively express my belief that many parade goers prefer to shield their children from certain displays.
kathleen fergus December 07, 2011 at 02:43 PM
I agree, Loudoun mom. That's true enough. But is there a message here? Other than "because I can". My question is, what's the point?


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