The culture wars have officially entered the big top.
A Florida county unanimously told an “R-rated” circus to pack up its tent this week, with some locals arguing that it would have brought “filth” to their small town.
Dubbed “Paranormal” by parent-group Cirque Italia, the circus applied for a zoning change for a 5-acre parcel that would have allowed it to develop a permanent site in Oneco.
But Manatee County commissioners received a pile of complaints about both the logistics and content of the circus leading up to a Thursday vote.
Speaking at that meeting, local pastor Bill Bailey said the production included a barking dog boy possessed by a demon and a woman hanging upside down from her hair.
Those elements were in addition to “blood, gore, and other filth,” Bailey said, according to reports.
“What brings me here today is the possibility of an R-rated circus coming to our neighborhood,” he said, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Bailey later told The Post that a slew of residents voiced concerns about the nature of the production.
Wary of setting off culture war alarms, Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse said he backed the permit denial but stressed that it was based on environmental concerns rather than the production itself.
“I’m not going to get into what they are doing in this tent,” Kruse said, according to the outlet. “I know you all want to, and that’s what got you all here. But I don’t need the ACLU coming after me and saying I’m fighting someone’s First Amendment rights.”
Bailey told The Post he was less concerned about the official rationale for the vote than the ultimate outcome.
“A win is a win,” he said. “I’m thankful to the commission for standing up for their neighbors.”
The Florida-based production is prohibited for anyone under 13 and those under 17 must be accompanied by a parent, according to the show’s website.
“Under this Clown Castle, the black and red big top tent, Acrobats of the Air, Illusionists, freaks, mysterious creatures and all the elements that make one think of a ‘normal’ Circus but that of normal has very little!” the site states.
The company can resubmit a revised application to local officials.
Cirque Italia declined to comment.