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Santa skeleton on crucifix taken down

Tuesday - 12/6/2011, 1:01pm  ET

santacross.jpg
One of the first displays to go up on the lawn of the Loudoun County Courthouse this year depicts a skeleton dressed as Santa Claus hanging from a crucifix. (Photo provided by Ken Reid)

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

LEESBURG, Va. - One of the first displays to go up on the lawn of the Loudoun County Courthouse this year was a skeleton dressed as Santa Claus hanging from a crucifix. But the display didn't stay up for long.

"This is the most disgusting and reprehensible thing that any of these groups has done on the courthouse lawn," says Leesburg Councilman and Supervisor-Elect Ken Reid.

Reid says the board of supervisors should have come up with a much better policy on how to handle these displays.

The display was put up by Jeff Heflin, Jr. of Middleburg who told Leesburg Today it depicts "materialistic obsessions prevalent during the holiday season" and "how peace, love, joy and kindness have been killed during the holidays."

The display was defaced. A woman took it down as a deputy watched, according to the Virginia Chapter of American Atheists.

Loudoun County has been struggling with numerous complaints about religious-versus-secular-versus-political displays around the holidays for the past three years.

There is now an application process and a limit to nine displays on a first-come, first-serve basis. There have been 10 applications this year.

The Board of Supervisors has changed the policy twice in the past three years because of complaints.

Reid says he will ask those decorating to use "secular displays, like Christmas trees and lights."

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)