Column: With Trayvon Martin, this Nativity gets edgy update


For a Christmas Day column, I present a piece on Claremont United Methodist Church’s annual Nativity display, which in recent years updates the traditional scene to comment on homelessness, war, immigration or other themes. This year, a dying Trayvon Martin is the centerpiece.

You can view photos of the past scenes and watch my 1:50 video interview with artist John Zachary.

I’ll be more curious than usual to hear the reaction to this column.

Oh, and merry Christmas!

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  • Ramona

    Merry Christmas, David. What kind of pie are ya having?


    As for the Nativity display by John Zachary, it’s like watching TV or listening to the radio. If we don’t like what’s on, change the channel. If you object to the display, keep on walking or driving. Mr Zachary is making a statement and it’s up to each of us as to whether we wish to listen.

    • davidallen909

      That’s an awfully mature viewpoint, Ramona, especially for the Internet. But we’ll let it go this time.

      Shockingly, no pie was consumed (or seen), but I did have a cookie and a piece of cake.

  • SAWZ

    I don’t have any judgment to make, one way or another, on this particular nativity scene, but it is a little surprising to me, that it takes place at a Methodist Church. Has the Methodist hierarchy taken any action or added any critique on this particular nativity scene and others the artist has previously presented? I recall seeing just a few weeks ago, a news item about the Methodist Church defrocking one of its own pastors, because he conducted the same-sex wedding ceremony for his own son.

    • davidallen909

      I’m not aware of any issues.

      • Lois Robbins

        SAWZ, like most denominations, the United Methodist Church is very diverse. The east coast UMC defrocked him and the Bishop here in the Southern California Cal-Pac Conference offered him a job. I’m guessing the hierarchy out here has been aware of the Claremont Church’s nativity scenes and is okay with it.

        • davidallen909

          Lois, thanks for clearing that up!

  • Doug Evans

    My take: Using Jesus to shake up the status quo seems much more in the spirit of the actual Jesus than using Jesus to keep the entrenched in power.

    And that’s as political or religious as I ever plan to get on this blog!

    • Doug Evans

      Meant to add: Congrats on all the national attention! (Congrats to the artist as well, of course!)