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Skeleton Dressed as Santa Claus, Nailed To A Cross, Taken Down From Courthouse Display

11:30 PM, Dec 5, 2011   |    comments
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Video: UPDATE: Skeleton Santa Sparks Christmas Anger

Mary Zenecki tore down Skele-Claus outside the Loudoun County Courthouse

LEESBURG, Va. (WUSA) -- The annual Leesburg dispute over holiday displays is getting as predictable as the rush of shoppers on Black Friday. 

A skeleton, dressed as Santa Claus, nailed to a cross, was torn down by an enraged woman outside of the Loudoun County Courthouse. 

The display was legally there, with the consent of the county, officials said. 

Mary Czarnecki, a county resident, wasn't having it. She, piece by piece and bone by bone, took "Skele-Claus" off the cross and laid him on the courthouse's lawn. 

"You don't think this is offensive?" she asked 9NEWS NOW's Peggy Fox. 

The display was put there by Jeff Heflin. He applied for approval with the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to put up his anti-Christmas Season display. 

"It depicts how society's materialistic obsessions and addictions are killing the season's peace, love, joy and kindness," Heflin said. 

Onlookers didn't agree with the way Heflin conveyed his message to the public. 

"It bothers me that he put a skeleton Santa on the cross," one onlooker said. 

"I don't believe in Buddha, but I'm not about to put up bad things about Buddha," another person said. 

The leader of the Northern Virginia Atheists, Rick Wingrove, says tearing down the display was illegal, and people should keep an open mind.

"Offense is in the eye of the beholder. We're offended by the religious displays on government  property. We think it's constitutionally improper," Wingrove said.

Loudoun County's Board of Supervisors voted, after the public spoke out, to possibly change the display rules. 

Board Chair, Scott York, told 9NEWS NOW, "We're going to try to change the rules next year, what's going on now is absurd." 

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