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Display taken off courthouse grounds by vandals

photoThe Santa skeleton display after it was vandalized on Dec. 10 where it appears the head is missing. Courtesy Photo/NBC 4 Washington

A controversial Santa skeleton display has once again been vandalized, and this time the culprit can add larceny to their list of charges.

On Dec. 10, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office reported that the controversial skeleton Santa display on the Loudoun County Courthouse lawn was vandalized, but this time the perpetrators took a piece of it with them.

The display was first vandalized on Dec. 5. The removal received a plethora of media attention nation-wide. The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors also decided on Dec. 6 to allow the next board to make a decision for next year’s displays on the courthouse lawn.

The owner of the display is Middleburg resident Jeff Heflin Jr., according to Julie Withrow, a Loudoun County administrator.

On Heflin’s application for inclusion in the courthouse display, he described his entry as “art work of Santa on a cross 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.” Heflin is not part of any organization and sponsored the display himself.

According to Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, a portion of the display was taken, but he declined to say which part was stolen.

Not only do the vandals face a destruction of property charge if a criminal complaint is filed, but they also face a larceny charge for stealing a piece of the display.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for guarding the displays at the courthouse complex and grounds and the Leesburg Police Department also patrols the surrounding area in Historic Downtown, Troxell said.

The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have the manpower to specifically guard the displays as a part of its daily job, but deputies plan to take action to try and keep people from vandalizing the displays, Troxell said.

“The agency will enhance our current security measures at the courthouse, to include directed patrols in the area,” Troxell said. “We have security measures for the courthouse and the grounds and because they’re county property or considered county jurisdiction, we will investigate any criminal activity on these grounds.”

A Sheriff’s Office report said the display was put back up on the evening of Dec. 9 and vandalized on Dec. 10. The incident is still under investigation. 


I call for fellow constitutionalists to stand up and protect the rights of free speech for every citizen of every -ism. I say we post 24 hour sentries on the courthouse lawn to protect these constitutionally protected displays of free speech against every self-rightous, religious zealot out there that decides that your freedoms are not as important as their religion.

It’s obvious that religious people are gullible people, who believe in childhood myths because they can’t come to grips with death.

The person is a vandal. That display was legally there and protected by the constitution under free speech. The person who took the head is unAmerican.

If you want Christmas to be left alone I suggest you stop demanding a religious display on government property and leave it at the church or on your private property where it belongs. If you want it on government property prepare to see counter beliefs go up along side it.

So now the person who took the skeleton’s head is labeled a vandal?  wtf?  Too bad the vandal(s) didn’t just take the whole thing and toss it in the nearest trash receptacle.  The kid responsible for this needs to find something a bit more constructive to do in his spare time.  Let Christmas be for those who appreciate and believe in it…. not for others to make a mockery of the Holiday and abuse their so-called “freedom of expression” as an excuse to publicly show their stupidity.

Truth abides, humanly.

Forgive my sentence structure.  A smart person recognizes his fault and attempt to correct.  These quotes are in honor of Christopher Hitchens.  They simply rhyme in his sentiment and provide real truth.

RIP Christopher Hitchens.  Here are a few fellow thinkers who have spoken in the honor of your insight:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.”
-John Adams

“In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.”
-James Madison

“Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separated.”
-Ulysses S. Grant

“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”
-Susan B. Anthony

“It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”
-Mark Twain

“No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says; he is always convinced that it says what he means.”
-George Bernard Shaw

“The world holds two classes of men - intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.”
-Abu Ala Al-Ma’arri

“Whatever we cannot easily understand we call god; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.”
-Edward Abbey

“If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever.”
-Woody Allen

“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
― Christopher Hitchens

Again, Ken Reid is quoted, not in The Washington Post, calling for the removal of Christian symbols in the courthouse grounds.  What a jerk!

An Enlighted Being:

And I can’t fathom your God because everything I’ve stated contridicts what I know of your God, from the bible.  If you believe the bible, the earth is ~6,500 years old and there was Adam and Eve, and then that guy with the ark, and so many other things I just could never believe happened just on faith.  And if one thing is wrong in the bible, and it claims to be written by God, then why not everything else?  Unlike science where something can be wrong and later corrected, if God wrote it, it should be right the first time. We’re humans, we will make mistakes, but God should be 100% on the ball. Too much of the bible has to be ignored or interpreted in wierd ways for me to believe any of it.

I am thankful that we were able to have a somewhat thoughtful and respectable discussion amongst the hate around here. And although I think you’re wrong, I’m happy having you as a neighbor. Most atheists typically do not hate religion and are tolerate of others beliefs.  I hope people realize that in the middle of all this name calling by a select few.

Dan - Sorry, I just can’t fathom the complexities of Humans or even the Natural Selection without a God, even given your explanations, cuz I believe all of that happens because our God made it so. Our main difference in understanding is where it started, you think at the cellular level & I don’t.  I’ll stop fun’n with ya. It’s been fun.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to you and your Family

@An Enlighted Being

I’ve attempted rational discussion and honest logic with you.  It’s clear that you are unwilling to consider other possibilities than God. 

I wish you and your family a Happy Festivus.

I’m hurt that you care so little about my germs and offspring.  It’s difficult to have an intelligent conversation when you diss my family in such a way.

@An Enlighted Being

The fact the germs were emitted from you does not mean they shared your DNA or are your offspring.  I don’t understand this line of questioning or your point regarding it.  Please explain how this is related to our conversation and I will be happy to try and respond in a manner that will address your questions or concerns.

As to why we evolved in Africa, Asia or Europe, it’s because that’s were it happened…  Making the reasonable conclusion that we did evolve, it had to happen somewhere, why not there?  Where it started is really not important to the discussion.  If it started in South America, my points would be just as valid.  Again, if you explain why this line of questioning is important to the converstation, I will attempt to answer it in a manner that better addresses your question or concern.

I think I ate Pangaea once and am pretty sure I didn’t like it.  Though my 1st statement could be taken as a joke, it’s very valid - my germs, my DNA, etc. thrown out with the trash, taken to the incinerator never to enjoy life again.  Why did they start in Europe 1st and not the other way around?  Why’d we have to wait for Leif & Chris?

An Enlightened Being:

I’ll take your first comment as the joke I assume it was intended to be.  As for why Asia and Europe were settled first (and it’s been a long time since I looked into this), I would assume that’s were humans evolved first.  Then, from that location they traveled via the ice bridge during the ice age to north america and down through the americas.

Have you ever heard of Pangaea?

I touched or possibly sneezed on the object in the frig, so yes it could be my descendant.  As for how old the earth is, I haven’t the foggiest, heck it could be 10,000 billion years.  If you’re married, it could certainly feel like 10,000 billion years.  As for the antibiotics and germs, don’t you think God had a hand in that & gave us the ability to discover them?  Why has Asia & Europe been settled & developed long before North & South America.  Why did Natural Selection move faster there?  Answer me that oh learned one.

@An Enlighted Being:

No, a great grandchild would be directly disendent from you.  Instead, bacteria is from a historic ancestor from billions of years ago, from which you evolved.  Billions of years ago is a long time. 

I may assume too much here, do you believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old, or do you believe the earth is ~4.5 billion years old?  If you believe it’s ~4.5 billion years old and life has been around for over 2 billion years, then you have to admit that’s a very long time (4,500 million years and >2,000 million years) for things to evolve.  If you believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old, there’s no way I can have a real discussion with you, because as much data as there is supporting evolution, there’s a lot more of it supporting the age of the earth (at least being >10,000 years old).

I’d further like to point out, that if science were to listen to religion, and simply stop looking into natural selection and evolution, we would never have figured out what was going on with antibiotics and germs.  This information has saved thousands of lives already.  Would you prefer that we simply turn a blind eye to this information at this point?  I understand you wish to defend your faith, but you do it at a cost to our society.

Blaspheme is not a crime in America because we are a secular government. The founders set it up that way for a reason, their fathers came here to escape that sort of persecution. You clearly have no grasp on the founders thoughts on religious freedom.

The cowards who tore this down are petty criminals and poor Americans.

Why was this guys application even reviewed?  Why didn’t he try to pull this crap at the Fauquier courthouse?  Maybe that BoS actually uses their heads for more than a place to put their hair pieces.  He doesn’t reside in Leesburg, let alone Loudoun County…that’s OUR courthouse, the residents of Leesburg and Loudoun County.  He doesn’t deserve to have his “display” on our courthouse lawn.  Pay your town and county taxes like the rest of us then come talk to me Mr. Heflin.

So now I’m to understand that every time I clean out the refrigerator, I’m performing an abortion of a potential great grandchild.  How sad.

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