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Crucifixion Controversy: Lee deputies order "Jesus" down from the cross


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Crucifixion Controversy: Lee deputies order "Jesus" down from the cross

CREATED Apr 18, 2014

 LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - A Good Friday crucifixion display didn't quite go as planned as Lee county sheriff's deputies ordered "Jesus" to come down from the cross and move the show elsewhere.

"This gentleman has had a passion on his heart to do a representation public," one of the display organizers said of the man who was tied to the cross. 

But it also generated some angry passion among drivers and pedestrians who didn't think the display should be set up right next to a busy intersection on public property.

Traffic backed up as drivers slowed down to catch a glimpse and take pictures. 

Other passersby believed the bloody display was too much for children and others who might not be prepared for the very realistic scene.

Lee sheriff's deputies showed up after getting complaints.

Fox 4 asked one of the display organizers what the sheriff's office told them people were complaining about. 

"Near accidents," said the organizer.

"That we're on public property, and we shouldn't be here."

He said the sheriff's office told him, "there were a lot of close calls with accidents and traffic back ups," because of the display. 

A spokesman for the Lee County Sheriff's office told us the display was creating a public safety hazard because of traffic danger.

But some people who stopped to see the display were furious to see it disappearing.

 "It's ridiculous that they're making you take him down," one woman told the organizers.

 "I really think we need to recognize and be reminded of what Jesus did for us," said another woman.

"I wish it would have stayed," she said of the display.

 She and others who stopped to show support said they didn't understand why some consider the fake blood and wounds "inappropriate."

"Jesus is appropriate for everywhere," she said. 

"Kids need to see how he was born and hung from the cross for us," said another woman who took a picture of her son with the man playing Jesus.

"And I yes I honestly do think it's appropriate," she added.

The man playing Jesus also weighed in as he was untied from the cross.

"Easter is not about bunny rabbits and little chicks," he said.

"This what our Christ endured for us. For our sins."

"And to hide that, is to not to live to the true faith of what he did for us," he added. 

Organizers said they made a conscious decision to put up the display alongside the busy road instead of the campus of a church. 

"It's a very public place out in the middle of town," said one organizer.

"When Jesus was crucified, he was done so right on edge of down where everyone would come by."

When asked about how this might affect people who didn't want to see such a display, the man playing Jesus paused, and then said, "It's just one of those necessities."

One woman who didn't want the display to go was still in awe as the cross was taken down and hauled away on a trailer.

"I think it's the most amazing thing I've ever seen," she said.
"I've only seen this in books." 
Do you think the display should have been taken down?
Tell us why or why not when you call us at (239) 206-FOX 4.