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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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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