Trayvon Martin Replaces Jesus in Nativity Scene
California church is more 'brave' than subtle, says passerby
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2013 4:10 PM CST
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(Newser) – Most nativity scenes include three wise men and a stable. The one at Claremont United Methodist Church in California has replaced Jesus with Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie, his heart pouring blood, the Los Angeles Times reports. "What if Jesus was lying there bleeding to death?" says the artist, John Zachary, reports the Daily Bulletin. "I was kind of thinking of that." A native Tennessean who grew up Methodist, Zachary says he thought the scene would be "more controversial," but learned that people of all political stripes "don’t really like people gettin' shot."

Zachary has been building provocative nativity scenes for the Claremont church east of Los Angeles since 2007. His scenes included Jesus and Mary as a modern homeless couple, Iraq war refugees, and Mexican migrants; one depicted an African-American woman cradling Jesus in prison. As for this year's, some reactions have been scathing. "How sad to replace the Savior in the nativity scene," posted one person on Facebook. "What kind of church is this???" But in the Times and Bulletin stories, passersby seem more balanced: "That is brave," said a 22-year-old student. "Subtlety isn't at work here. ... I will say, it got our attention."

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Showing 3 of 274 comments
Jan 3, 2014 11:07 AM CST
Oh what a tragedy, that a violent felon was killed in self-defense! What a loss it is to the world that a drug-abusing teenager who illegally bought guns and got in fights is dead after attacking someone who was following him after he saw him looking in other people's apartment windows.
Dec 31, 2013 6:59 PM CST
"Give us Barabbas"
Dec 31, 2013 2:13 PM CST
Well, the artist, John Zachary, managed to get his five minutes of fame. I think it was a dumb thing for him to do instead of relying on skill and talent as an artist especially since his artistic expression ended up desecrating the depiction of our Lord, Jesus Christ's entrance into this world. Legal action should be taken against the Claremont United Methodist Church in California for taunting the whole community.