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If the nativity scene has something you don't like in it

does that make it ok to vandalize it, even if it is on a church lawn?

Nativity scene with gay figures vandalized

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

Asked by NotPanicking at 8:32 PM on Dec. 30, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • Sad. Vandalism is vandalism, no matter your opinion of the piece. I hope they catch the person(s).

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 8:37 PM on Dec. 30, 2011

  • It is not okay to vandalize anything just because you don't like it. Kudos to the church for representing different beliefs. I was rather surprised by that.

    Answer by mdrgator10 at 8:38 PM on Dec. 30, 2011

  • nope. that sort of behavior is uncalled for and no matter what my personal views are about homosexual lifestyles I believe God would still frown upon something like that. Homosexuals are people just like me and deserved to have their beliefs respected as I do.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Plain and simple.

    Answer by Ladybugkisses76 at 8:39 PM on Dec. 30, 2011

  • Regardless of what was being displayed, destruction of private property is a crime. It's no different than someone spray painting on your garage door or cutting down your trees. It doesn't matter what anyone thought of it. The display belonged to the church and should not have been touched at all.

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 8:41 PM on Dec. 30, 2011

  • No, vandalism is not ok for any reason. It also happens to be illegal.

    Answer by GirlWithANikon at 8:48 PM on Dec. 30, 2011

  • No, it wasn't right. But really? They could have left all three couples out of the nativity scene. It has gay or straight is not the point of a nativity scene. They sort of set themselves up for some classless person to come along and shine!

    Answer by Musicmom80 at 9:02 PM on Dec. 30, 2011

  • I find the depiction morally wrong but the act was criminal

    Answer by adnilm at 9:26 PM on Dec. 30, 2011

  • So, according to the vandal(s), it's ok to destroy a religious display when it contains something you find immoral (even if those who created the display could possibly hold the same basic beliefs as the vandals). However, the vandal(s) would probably be the first to scream persecution if their own "normal" nativity display was vandalized.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 10:05 PM on Dec. 30, 2011

  • 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, 2011

  • No one is saying its acceptable to vandalize property. I'm simply saying, its a crime to steal a car even if the keys are in it. But just to be safe I'll keep my keys with me.
    I'm just saying, people are assholes as it is. Why put myself out there?
    They had to have known it would be considered "controversial". It could have been some stupid teenagers with self esteem issues and ignorance for all they know. And how about instead of spending $3000 on yard decoration, they could feed the homeless or something if they are trying to prove a point.

    Answer by Musicmom80 at 10:51 PM on Dec. 30, 2011

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