does that make it ok to vandalize it, even if it is on a church lawn?
Vandalism of a church's Nativity display that includes depictions of gay and lesbian couples was being investigated as a hate crime, police said.
The damage at Claremont United Methodist Church happened late Saturday or Sunday morning.
The display's three panels feature silhouettes of three hand-holding couples — two men, two women and a heterosexual pair. The vandal knocked over the depictions of the gay and lesbian couples but left the straight couple alone.
"It's a hate crime based on it being church property as well as the wooden box knocked over that depicted two males holding hands," police Sgt. Jason Walters told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
The display created by artist church member John Zachary includes the phrase "Christ is born" and a Star of Bethlehem but no traditional manger figures. For the past six years, Zachary has designed and built a scene on the church's front lawn. The scene has had controversial themes before, but this was the first about gay couples, the Daily Bulletin said.
Zachary said the artwork suffered at least $3,000 worth of damage. The exhibit had three panels that weighed 600 pounds (272 kilograms) each.
The Rev. Dan Lewis said he was saddened by the incident.
"We have members of our church who are gay and lesbian who it sends a very personal message to," said Lewis, who learned of the vandalism on Christmas Day. "I tried to say in worship on Sunday morning that we will not let it trouble us."
Ed Kania, 60, an openly gay member of the church, called the act of vandalism disappointing, especially because Claremont is a generally seen as a progressive college town.
"It's a reminder that although there are pockets of acceptance, not everybody is accepting," he told the Los Angeles Times.
This wasn't an act of someone protesting a public nativity - it was on a church's private property where nobody non-Christian would care. We hear about any little complaint any other time, why aren't more people talking about this one - that's actually being criminally investigated, rather than simply one person saying they don't like something and another person telling them to shut up?Answer Question
Answer by anng.atlanta at 8:37 PM on Dec. 30, 2011Credits: 37309 Level 28 Religious Debate Major
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Vandalism is wrong, the persons responsible will hopefully be caught. Since the vandals are unknown we don't know what their motivations were, for all the police know it could have been some drunk kids from the "progressive college town" they are in.
Answer by RyansMom001 at 10:49 PM on Dec. 30, 2011Credits: 45885 Level 30 Religious Debate Major
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