Claremont church depicts Black Lives Matter protest in Nativity scene

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Claremont United Methodist Church put up a Nativity scene in December 2020 that shows Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in front of a wall of people wearing masks and carrying signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” “I can’t breathe” and “Jesus wept,” along with Bible verses. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Claremont United Methodist Church put up a Nativity scene in December 2020 that shows Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in front of a wall of people wearing masks and carrying signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” “I can’t breathe” and “Jesus wept,” along with Bible verses. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

According to the Bible, Jesus’ birth was a crowded affair — Mary and Joseph, a menagerie of animals and some shepherd visitors. But protesters?

Claremont United Methodist Church, in keeping with its tradition of eye-catching Nativity scenes, situated the Holy Family this year in front of a painting of masked people holding signs reading “I can’t breathe!” and “Black Lives Matter,” alongside Bible verses and other quotes.

“We couldn’t think of any other issue that we wanted to keep under the light of the Bethlehem star than the need to address racism,” said the Rev. Karen Clark Ristine, the church’s senior minister.

Against the mural backdrop, a statue of Joseph kneels beside the babe in a manger. Mary stands, her arms lifted with the protesters in the painting, alluding to the protests that erupted this summer after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd. Above their heads, a banner lists the names of more than 30 Black people who have been killed, including Emmett Till, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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