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Nativity Scene Featuring a Dying Trayvon Martin Stirs Emotions

Cars are slowly making their way past the controversial Nativity scene in Claremont that depicts Trayvon Martin as he bleeds to death

A representation of a dying Trayvon Martin is front and center of a Nativity scene in front of Claremont United Methodist Church. (Photo by Bill Norris)
A representation of a dying Trayvon Martin is front and center of a Nativity scene in front of Claremont United Methodist Church. (Photo by Bill Norris)

As news of the provocative Nativity scene in Claremont got out, a trickle of vehicles began to make their way down the Foothill Boulevard frontage road that runs directly in front of the display.

Featured center in front of the cutouts of a Joseph and kneeling Mary is a mannequin-like figure of Trayvon Martin. The boy sits, eyes wide open, “blood” streaming down and pooling near his feet and flowing over the edge of the setting to help form the words, “A child is born. A son is given.”

The Claremont United Methodist Church and artist John Zachary created the display. And word of it has begun to spread rapidly.

“It’s different,” said Patricia Brayton,of Rancho Cucamonga. She looked on with a sense of awe and surprise. “That’s very bold. Very, very bold to put something like that, especially with the Nativity scene. I had heard it on KFI so I wanted to see it. It makes you really, (she paused) you know… I haven’t thought it all the way through but it really makes you think.”

“Who does that with a nativity scene?” she added. “I just had to see it.”

Most of what she has been hearing, particularly on KFI, has been negative backlash, she said. Several people have stunned reactions to the image.

In a plaque placed in front of the Nativity scene, its' creators explain “there is no better time to reflect on gun violence then advent, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born into a state of total vulnerability as an innocent, unarmed child during a time of great violence much like Trayvon Martin."

For former Claremont resident Dave Hamilton, the display, though intense, is not surprising.

“He’s done a lot of, I want to say, good stuff,” Dave Hamilton said. “And I’m not surprised by this.”

He’s come out for past displays. One spotlighted the plight of the poor by featuring a shopping cart, he said. He has taken photos. He finally got out to catch some photos of the most recent and most controversial late Friday.

“It’s sad that it happened,” Hamilton said of Trayvon’s shooting. “This kid is where he shouldn’t have been. But it’s America. You can be wherever you want to be. This guy (Zimmerman) went too far.”

And with that, Hamilton agreed the artist may have just accomplished what he set out to do, start a conversation.

“We’ve come to see the nativity as a representation of something that is comfortable and pleasant and wonderful in our lives,” Zachary says on a Youtube video produced by Inland Valley Daily Bulletin columnist David Allen. “I want to make it about something that Jesus would have taught, something that was thought provoking and something that was a contemporary issue about social justice.”

JC Heard December 28, 2013 at 03:22 PM
They got to be kidding, displaying this thug on such a scene, will it ever end about this thug, they want to keep all the bull ongoing, why don't they put a white person on the scene being attach by a black
Telestai December 28, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Dragging race and violence into a "Christmas" scene at a church constitutes sacrilege, insult, racism, rabble-rousing, and very poor taste.
Tom Lewis December 28, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Gee... The scene forgot to show the sucker punch...
Joe Clark December 28, 2013 at 07:25 PM
This is an insult to everyone. Including the Martin family. Christians need to stand up against this in big numbers, protest it, and do anything they can to show our outrage.
Bill Hall December 28, 2013 at 07:31 PM
This is insane! Martin was a thug looking for trouble, problem was he found more trouble than he could deal with.
perry rock December 28, 2013 at 07:43 PM
trayvon was a loser, good riddence
lynn1964 December 28, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Disgusting!!!! TM had absolutely NOTHING to do with the birth of our Savior
Dan Crabtree December 28, 2013 at 09:25 PM
His mother could do nothing with trayvon in her own words...so she in turn shipped him to his father and again in her own words "I could not handel him"...arrest record? yep.. although miami police will never release it due to his age when he died..dangerous yep according to his mother he was ..She since has recanted some statements she made previously...wonder why..
CULLY December 28, 2013 at 10:46 PM
stupid !!
Igor December 29, 2013 at 09:33 AM
Shawn. I'm a racist? I never owned a slave. My grandfather never owned a slave. How long are you going to use that as an excuse? Blacks are just as racist as any other race. Try listening to some lyrics to the songs, or the comedians. Better yet listen to the talk show where whoopie slides in her little white jokes. No one has clean hands here. My problem with Trayvon being in the Nativity scene is he doesn't belong there, anymore then Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. He wasn't at the bierth of Christ. BTW before I forget I think you are a complete A$$hole.
Layla December 29, 2013 at 10:28 AM
This sure takes the cake. Putting a figure of a wannabe black gangster in a nativity scene. Trayvon got what he deserved. This is just making a mockery out of Christianity. You bleeding heart libs make me puke.
Layla December 29, 2013 at 10:44 AM
@Grace Get off of your soapbox. YOU are giving humanity a bad name. Your comments about stand your ground laws are incorrect. Stop making up your so called 'facts'. For one thing, nobody cares what you have to say and #2, it's libs like you that have ruined our country. You make us the laughing stock of the world. You are either illiterate or uninformed or both. Who the heck died and left you boss??? You insinuate that Linda has a drinking problem...hmmm. I'm thinking you have a crack problem AND a kid that's a wannabe gangster. That's why you're having difficulty controlling your obvious anger issues. Do us all a favor, check into rehab, send your kid to someone that doesn't have a substance abuse problem (like you obviously do) and stop trying to impress people by googling words that you have no idea what they mean. You've only managed to make yourself look stupidl
Steven Cook December 29, 2013 at 11:38 AM
I'm sorry that any person was killed. NO ONE, NO ONE should dominate the Nativity scene with our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and His parents. For someone wanting to make a statement with Travon Martin during the Christmas season with Christ and His parents there is a better way than to throw it in our faces as depicted. It might have been more acceptable rather to have him kneeling and asking forgiveness?, or many other less obtrusive ways. The "Son That Was Given" was the Lord Jesus Christ, who was without sin, NOT Travon Martin who like all mankind is with sin. I find fault with the Methodist Church for condoning the artist's rendition of Trevon blocking out our Saviour completely from being seen and the concept itself.
Madelyn December 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Very distasteful. There is a place for everything and this is not the place for it. One can't never put God/Jesus and a human being at the same level. IF this is the way Methodists act and feel I wouldn't ever want to put a foot on this type of church that do not honor God as our Saviour.
Leonard Antal December 29, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Trayvon Martin as JC??? This does not inspire the seasonal spirit of giving. It's a ludicrous image for a nativity scene, and no reason to suppose the TM's demise is any more heinous than the death of service men in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere, all of whom are the sons of a woman. I can forgive the "artist" making propaganda for TM, but this exercise of poetic license makes me wonder about his sanity. Can we say that like JC, an agitator to the status quo, that TM got what was coming? I don't think this misguided artist would go that far.
novastien December 29, 2013 at 04:17 PM
maybe we should worship criminals too! "NOT!!!!!"
Linda E Lopez December 29, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Many people do.....Obama. LOL
Igor December 29, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Can't wait for Easter
Cliff Goodman December 29, 2013 at 06:48 PM
WITHOUT GUNS,THE CHURCH WOULDNOT BE ABLE TO SHOW THAT TRASH. GUNS HAVE KEPT AMERICA FREE.
Linda E Lopez December 29, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Historical Trivia: Both Christmas and Easter were originally Pagan holidays. Christmas was called Yule/Winter Solstice it was not really a religious holiday it was a party because 1/2 way through the winter people got bored and they knew that Spring was on it's way. Easter was actually Eostera..for the Goddess Eostera and it was a fertility holiday for the beginning of Spring. Bunnys and chickies are fertility symbols. When Christianity took over, they needed to convert the Pagans. To do this they took over the Pagan holidays. If you look up the historical facts Jesus was actually born in August.
james smith December 29, 2013 at 08:41 PM
How come they didn't show George Zimmerman's bloody head?
james smith December 29, 2013 at 08:43 PM
The Methodist church needs to excommunicate the pastor that did this.
TL December 29, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Wow, no, sorry this just isn't right. Please take it down!
Lynn Debbi Holland December 30, 2013 at 12:29 AM
No one said he was Jesus Christ he was killed for nothing for having on a hoodie and walking home just like any other person in the United States. Who cares that Zimmerman had a blood head he is alive, he has since pulled guns on other people and gotten away with it I assume that is making you happy. Well in this season of Joy I pray for Trayvon Martins family he didn't deserve to die. There should be no stand your ground law in any state. I think this was thought provoking and unfortunately people don't open their minds. You live your life I suppose with blinders on, what would you do if that were your son walking home with a hoodie on and having been killed for just that? He was not breaking in someones home, he wasn't peeping in anyone's windows he was walking home. Why should he have been kneeling asking for forgiveness? He didn't do anything wrong and I would have fought also against someone assaulting me as would you.
Linda E Lopez December 30, 2013 at 12:48 AM
You are forgetting that Trayvon had a rap sheet. You only remember the picture the media put out showing a 12 or 13 yr old kid. Not the tattooed gangsta wanna be that he really was. It obscene to see Trayvon portrayed in a nativity scene. Maybe he didnt deserve to die the way he did, but somewhere down the road he would have committed more crimes maybe even murder. It is YOU who are walking around with blinders...you only see what you want to see...not what is real.
Bob B December 30, 2013 at 01:23 AM
I just wonder what the members of that 'church' think about this blasphemous display.
Nadine December 30, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Anyone have a hand grenade????
Billy O'Dell December 30, 2013 at 04:45 AM
Ata linda. no one knows when Jesus was born, they chose dec. 25th because it was the time of Christs mass. . .not his birthday at first but then again who cares....if you adopted a child from a foreign country and did not know his birthday would you just not give him one or would you pick a date and celebrate it then. thats what the early christians did since it made things simpler. And yea some of the traditions early christianity adopted to apease the pagans but not all. . example the xmass tree was not due to the pagans but due to the paradise tree. . .look it up, early on it was decorated with apples and communion wafers (apples for adam and eve, wafers to represent salvation), you can blame martin luther if you really must hate a christian for the rest of the decorations. As to born in August lol, made that one up did you, the closest thing you can find to his approx birth is mostly in luke by comparing another birth. . most likely in mid to late september if your going by scripture but no one knows for certain the exact month.
Paul December 30, 2013 at 09:52 AM
Is it true the blood streaming down is George Zimmerman's from his bashed in head caused by Martin? They really should have put a package of weed in his hands along with some Skittles.
Linda E Lopez December 30, 2013 at 01:12 PM
According to Astrological information...as to when the bright star shown in the sky that the wisemen supposedly followed it was August. Let's face it...you dont like it when someone presents information that does not fit the dogma of Christianity.

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