California | Christmas | Religion

LGBT Friendly Nativity Scene Destroyed In Claremont

ClaremontNativityIn Claremont, CA, just outside of Los Angeles, forward-thinking Christians at Claremont United Methodist Chruch celebrated the arrival of Christmas with a thoroughly modern nativity scene. It was an art installation -- three lightboxes surrounding something that could, by some stretch of the imagination, be said to represent a manger. Upon each of the lightboxes was the silhouette of a human couple: One male, one female, one mixed. Each couple held hands. It was quite lovely.

Then, early on Christmas morning, some unknown Claremontians knocked over the gay and lesbian lightboxes, breaking them.

Said John Zachary, the artist who created the nativity scene:

I wanted it to be clear, beyond a doubt, that the gay and lesbian -- the homosexual community is just as included in this process as anyone ... It is a serious thing. This is an attack on a group of people that is innocent and harmless.

Zachary has designed the church's nativity scenes for years. One year, the nativity pictured a homeless couple, which "prompted an impromptu outpouring of giving, with congregation members leaving donations of food, clothing and money," according to The Los Angeles Times. On other occasions, the nativity pictured "a scene of war in the Middle East; a mother and baby in prison and an installation representing the U.S./Mexico border fence with 'No Room at the Inn?' spray-painted above a depiction of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus." None of these were defaced.

Claremont police have decided to treat the Christmas defacement as a hate crime. Claremont United Methodist has decided to leave the battered display in place, as an "evolving art piece." The church will soon host an "interfaith vigil" to support Claremont's LGBT community.

Watch KTLV's coverage of the defacement here.

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  1. Where are the security cameras? Why on earth would you set up a public non-conventional 'manger' scene and not beam a camera at it? Yes, the police will treat it as a hate crime but do we expect any resolution or an arrest of vandals? Most likely not.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Dec 30, 2011 10:52:29 AM

  2. well, i certainly hope that Fox News and other conservative "news outlets" spend a lot of time talking about this story for it is, after all, a legit "war on Christmas"....right?


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Dec 30, 2011 1:05:23 PM

  3. Are we sure it wasn't vandalized for tackiness?

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Dec 30, 2011 2:01:43 PM

  4. Oh, Claremont. The matter will be investigated, but chances are it was a young punk or elderly retiree.

    Claremont, for those who don't know, is situated on the upslope of the Pomona Valley and, depending on who you ask, is a part of California's Inland Empire. It is a wealthy enclave, where large homes on larger plots of land have an unobstructed view of Mt. Baldy immediately to the north.

    But that wealth has a liberal tint to it. Claremont is also (somewhat seriously) referred to as the "Harvard of the West." It is home to the Pomona Colleges, five private universities of high academic renown, each with their own emphasis. You've heard of them (probably from an expert talking head on TV) and probably have never realized it.

    Long story short, Claremont is an accepting and diverse community... and while the above art piece is, erm, not for everyone's aesthetic taste, the town won't just whitewash the incident.

    Posted by: TommyOC | Dec 30, 2011 2:53:48 PM

  5. TOMMYOC, You mean the same Inland Empire that ov erwhelmingly opposed gay marriage, had Yes on 8 signs everywhere like it was funnel cake stands at a carnival, and breeds some serious addicts? Please. There's plenty of hate around those parts and this terrible incident does not surprise me coming from the -909- region.

    Posted by: Tudie | Dec 30, 2011 6:58:43 PM

  6. Whats most pathetic is it will likely be a Christian who is responsible, and even more tragic will be the niumber of Xtians who don't view this as harrasment of property and instead would celebrate this action. Never be surprised by the lack of humility or humanity of the Church crowd. Hypocrisy is the only sermon that reigns supreme with them

    Posted by: NoLapsplease | Dec 30, 2011 7:00:53 PM

  7. I'm curious BrianinTexas, what you find 'tacky' about it? It's the most generic display I've seen, so how could it be tacky unless you're reffering to two men holding hands which you find tacky which is where I'm assuming you're going with that. If thats all you have to contribute to this story, that says a lot about your intentions of posting on a site like this.

    Posted by: JC | Dec 30, 2011 7:04:15 PM

  8. Tudie, Indeed there is a lot of hatred towards us here in the IE, but as well as acceptance and the latter is growing. My own city had many more Yes on 8 sign pushed by ignorance that we were going to indoctrinate straight people's children. However people are beginning to realize that when one thinks it makes no sense and they are being manipulated into hate. Whoever did this though is desperate. They see the writing on the wall. Prop 8 is loathed as a stain on our constitution and our legislatures are becoming more and more about marriage equality. It is only a matter of time, so the only thing they have left are to take acts of hate like this. Claremont is a lovely place to be but don't underestimate the acts people can take in any city wherever it may be especially when hey are desperate.

    Posted by: Redebbm | Dec 30, 2011 7:47:25 PM

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