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Trayvon Martin sculpture replaces baby Jesus in Claremont Nativity

A sculpture of Trayvon Martin replaces the infant Jesus in a nativity scene in Claremont in this photo from Dec. 2013.

December 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A Nativity scene in front of a Claremont church is causing controversy for replacing the figure of Jesus with a sculpture of Trayvon Martin.

The Nativity is on display outside of Claremont United Methodist Church. The figure of Martin, covered in fake blood, is seated where the infant Jesus would normally be placed.

The sculpture was created by artist John Zachary, who says he wanted to make the Nativity more relevant by juxtaposing it with the modern-day issue of gun violence.

"What we tried to do is make it a new way of looking at the Nativity and connecting the Nativity story with a contemporary issue," he said.

The church's Rev. Dan Lewis says the Nativity is effective at sending a message.

"The depiction here is uncomfortable, and that's kind of the point," said Lewis.

Zachary says the display has received mixed responses. Some say it's sacrilegious; others are more appreciative of its message.

The scene will remain in place through Jan. 5.