Church Nativity Scene With Gay Figures Vandalized

December 29, 2011 - 8:00 PM

CLAREMONT, Calif. (AP) — Southern California authorities are investigating vandalism of a church's Nativity display that includes depictions of gay and lesbian couples.

The damage at Claremont United Methodist Church occurred 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.

Claremont police Sgt. Jason Walters tells the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (http://bit.ly/thlRM7) it's a hate crime.

The display created by an artist church member includes the phrase "Christ is born" and a Star of Bethlehem but no traditional manger figures.

The Rev. Dan Lewis says the vandalism sent a personal message to gay and lesbian church members.

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Information from: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, http://www.dailybulletin.com