The nativity scene at a Southern California church looked different than most this holiday season.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a figurine of Florida teen Trayvon Martin replaced baby Jesus for the Claremont United Methodist Church’s lawn nativity scene.
Artist John Zachary, 57, featured Trayvon slumped over, in a hoodie and bleeding as a way to stir community conversation and “draw a parallel between rampant gun violence and the dark time in which Jesus was born.”
“[Trayvon] was, in my view, an innocent child like the innocent children killed by King Herod,” Zachary said. “I think the Nativity has to be relevant to our time. I think Jesus is a symbol of hope and I think he has to be seen in today’s context.”
The depiction has drawn some negative attention from the congregation.
“How sad to replace the Savior in the nativity scene,” one person posted on Facebook. “What kind of church is this??? I pray that you will understand the real reason for the season…”
22-year-old film student Matthew Law-Phipps viewed it as more political than personal.
“That is brave,” he said. “It’s very blatant. Subtlety isn’t at work here.… I will say, it got our attention.”
Read the full report here.