Lehigh Acres, Fla. (CBS TAMPA) — A Florida crucifixion display off a busy intersection was ordered down by local authorities who said that some drivers and pedestrians thought the Good Friday scene was too gruesome, and that the show had become a “public safety issue.”
Lee County authorities ordered the man imitating Jesus – covered in realistic wounds and bloodied body parts – to bring down the crucifixion display for Good Friday, citing angry drivers who said the scene was too graphic for children, and that too many people were stopping their vehicles to witness the Biblical re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, WFTX-TV reports.
Lee County Sheriff’s Office said the display had become a “public safety hazard” due to “a lot of close calls with accidents and traffic back-ups,” according to WFTX. “Near accidents” off the public property were cited as reasons that local authorities wanted the re-enactors to leave.
But many pedestrians passing by showed support for the graphic show and noted that the true Christian meaning behind the Good Friday and Easter holiday was appropriate.
“It’s ridiculous that they’re making you take him down,” one local 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…Kids need to see how he was born and hung from the cross for us. Jesus is appropriate for everywhere.”
Some pedestrians stopped to have their children’s photos taken with the bloody actor portraying Jesus.
The actor said that the fake blood and wounds were necessary to convey the true sacrifice of Jesus Christ behind the Easter holiday.
“Easter is not about bunny rabbits and little chicks,” the actor portraying Jesus, as he was untied from the blood-stained cross, told WFTX. “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.”
The organizers of the event told WFTX that the display of “passion” should be seen by the public. Instead of a church lot, they argued that the public spot held appropriate parallel to the location in which Christ himself was originally crucified.
“It’s a very public place out in the middle of town. When Jesus was crucified, he was done so right on edge of town where everyone would come by,” said one organizer.
As the display was hauled away to a trailer, one woman commented that it was “the most amazing thing [she’s] ever seen.”