CLAREMONT, Calif. — A Southern California church nativity scene is featuring a bloody Trayvon Martin in place of the infant Jesus in an effort to stir a community conversation about gun violence.
The nativity scene on the lawn of the Claremont United Methodist Church shows Martin in a hoodie, slumped over and bleeding. The Florida teenager's shooting death last year captured the nation's attention.
The lawn scene was created by 57-year-old congregant and artist John Zachary, who in the past has created installations addressing homelessness and poverty. Zachary said he wanted to make the Nativity relevant to modern times and generate a community conversation, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday.
But some faithful have shuddered at the depiction and called it sacrilege. Retiree Viola Saunders, who stopped and took some pictures of the scene with her phone, said she thought the Nativity was too sacred to modify.
Lead pastor Rev. Sharon Rhodes-Wickett said the church is a progressive community where congregants seek to challenge their minds, and hearts, but she can understand if some find the depiction "too edgy."