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A stranger manger: Williamsburg man designs apocalyptic crèche starring President Trump

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Photo gallery

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Artistic protest: Sciorra stands before his anti-Trump nativity scene.
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All that’s left: The presepio displays what the biblical story of the birth of Christ would look like under the 45th president.
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Innocent blood: Soldiers guard recently slaughtered male newborns as part of the crèche.
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Trump’s America: Marginalized people are locked inside a barbed-wire-enclosed internment camp in the display.
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Commander in grief: President Trump’s likeness stands in the middle of the presepio, with an axe-wielding skeleton lurking behind him.

It’s a nativity obscene.

A Williamsburg man skewered our polarizing Commander in Chief and his controversial policies in a self-made nativity scene that swaps the traditional manger and holy-family likenesses for an apocalyptic display centered around President Trump. Author and professor Joseph Sciorra said this past year was so awful, it inspired him to create his crèche — or presepio in Italian — to showcase the administra­tion’s drastic effects on the American people.

“It’s been a disastrous year. Trump’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic policies have driven me, as they’ve driven others, crazy,” said Sciorra, who works at Queens College and said he was raised Catholic but is now atheist. “The presepio was a creative way to kind of work through some of the angst and the tension that this — I can barely bring myself to say — president brought to bear on us all.”

Sciorra, who said he’s put his own spin on the biblical story of birth of Christ for the last 18 years, designed “Trump’s AmeriKKKa,” which sits on a kitchen table in his Devoe Street apartment, in three parts.

President Trump — a zombie figurine topped with the Donald’s infamous blonde combover — stands front and center in the forsaken landscape, with a devil floating above him and a skeleton stationed behind him. Further back, armed soldiers guard male newborns slain during the Massacre of the Innocents — a mass infanticide ordered by a Roman king, according to the bible.

The president’s proposed wall dividing the American–Mexican border stands on the left side of the display, blocking St. Joseph and the three Magi, who were deported, from entering the portion occupied by the Trump figurine.

And on the right side of the crèche, barbed wire traps the Virgin Mary and her child in an internment camp that is also filled with people from marginalized communities the Commander in Chief is persecuting, Sciorra said.

“There are various figures: Muslim, Arab, Latino, and two figurines from gay wedding cakes — two men and two women — just to talk about the ways in which the Trump Administration is increasing this police state where people are rounded up in,” he said.

The nativity scene’s background is a collage comprised of newspaper clippings about Trump, Black Lives Matter posters, and images of an atomic bomb exploding, Ku Klux Klan members and white nationalists from last year’s Charlottesville rallies, and protestors at the 2017 Women’s March.

Sciorra — who studied crèches across the city for 35 years before writing about them in his book “Built with Faith: Italian American Imagination and Catholic Material Culture in New York City” — said he started creating the display just after Thanksgiving.

And not all of the scholar’s presepio are political, but he said it was hard to avoid taking on the current administration with this year’s knowing that one of the bible’s most beloved stories may never have happened if it were set today.

“The beauty of the presepio is trying to recreate this biblical narrative in a more contemporary scene,” said Sciorra. “The idea that this deity is here to bring peace on earth and all of that is being destroyed by this administration in ways that we have yet to understand, that are constantly unfolding.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:51 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Looser.
Jan. 2, 8:02 am
John from Little Italy says:
What a damn fool. This is why our kids are coming out of college with a lack of tradition and faith.
Jan. 2, 9:26 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
America is at its best when crying liberals are throwing temper tantrums. Thank you for making America great again, Mr. President.
Jan. 2, 11:56 am
Tyler from pps says:
Hey John -- I'd love you to explain that comment. On the face of it, it seems quite meaningless. So, it would be great if you expanded on your thoughts.

In particular, please explain the role of an artist's work on "our kids'" college experience. Also, if you would, define what you mean by "lack of tradition" and "faith."
Jan. 2, 12:01 pm
Frank from Rossville says:
This entire piece of artwork is meaningless. Just another attack on Catholicism by a so called atheist professor in order to gain notoriety. These professors always claim freedom of speech but do not respect diversity of opinion. If this year was so horrible, tell him to donate his 401K gains.
Jan. 2, 12:59 pm
Gary from Fort Greene says:
No doubt all Sciorra's artsy friends are pumping his hand, patting him on the back and congratulating him on his courage in speaking truth to power. This might cause Sciorra to conclude that most people care what he thinks. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Few things are more inconsequential than artists' political opinions.
Jan. 2, 2:02 pm
Homey from Crooklyn says:
LOL Trump is living rent free in this assclown's
head !
Jan. 2, 2:51 pm
Jesus from Nazareth says:
Fellas... Fellas... You do know my mom was a refugee, right? Also I'm pretty big on the whole taking care of each other. Don't forget the whole " it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" thing too...

Keep rocking it artsy atheist looser.
Jan. 2, 5:12 pm
Jesus from Nazareth says:
and come on - the craftsmanship! Poppa Joe would be proud
Jan. 2, 5:13 pm
Ginootz from Gabbagoolatopia says:
look at deez hard guy wannabeez ON dis FREAKIN PAGE actin like they kno what its about. Emma put my SCAPPADELZi n yo TUSHADEELZ!!
Jan. 2, 5:23 pm
Big Sal from Gravesend as in I'll send you to a grave says:
——ing disgrace. Jesus would rip this guy's head off and —— down his throat for the disrespect. Look at how jacked Jesus is on the cross.
Jan. 2, 5:57 pm
Rita from Deep Brooklyn says:
Love how youse all got twisted. The “loser” did his job.
Jan. 2, 8:07 pm
Paulie Most Meat from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Sciora come to 7100 Shore Road and I'll give you a Bible Lesson. And by Bible Lesson I mean I'll beat your face in front of my family with my King James revised edition of the Bible that my grandmother may she rest in piece gave me for my 30th birthday. And by beat your face in front of my family I mean I will literally smash your face in with the spine of the Holy Book while my infant daughter Giuliana who is about to be baptized at St. Anselm's next Sunday watches and learns a valuable life lesson.
Jan. 2, 9:16 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
Anyone,who believes that it important,that the Democrats to pick up seats;in the 2019'20(next),United States Congress,Damn better start praying,dancing,meditating,using ESP-or whatever?,they do to influence the forces that be,to end the continued bitter-cold weather. Much of the U.S.A.,needs a (Global),warm up for the sake of Democrats-and as soon,as possible? Facts,are that since 2004,cold winters,such as the winters of 2003-'04;,2009-'10,and especially the seemingly never-ending,winter of 2013-'14,ALL favored-Washington,DC Republicans. While,the almost non-existent,winters of 2005-'06,2007-'08,2011-'12,clearly favored Democrats. Even during the relatively calm(save for the one huge snow-storm),winter's,of 2015-'16;the Democratic party-actually gained several seats,in both the House and the Senate. For sake of,inheritantly superior Bipartisan(DC) government,next year;I am certainly strongly hoping and praying,for fast weather warm-up. And,unless,you like President Donald J.Trump,to have even more power by 2019;you need to do,as I am currently doing. Apparently,enough swing-voters,STOP!!,believing in Global-warmin;whenever an(old-fashioned) winter,occurs!!
Jan. 2, 9:35 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
They stop believing in global warming because every con has to end sometime. Then when people catch on, they try to tell you that they meant climate change all along. Now that the Justice Department is soon to be in the hands of patriotic Americans, their crimes will be brought to light. Gore can have the cell between Hillary and Obama.
Jan. 2, 10:48 pm
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
The idiocy on display in some of these comments regarding basic understanding of weather vs climate is staggering. No doubt coming from a sociopathic baby boomer whose generation pillaged the country into debt and poverty. It's not soon enough that these greedy idiots in denial die off and let the next generation clean up their mess
Jan. 3, 1:46 pm
lol from my desk says:
wow! who knew there were so many trump lovin' yokels in brooklyn.
Jan. 3, 4:22 pm
Morris from Mill Basin says:
Don't worry, "lol from my desk." Most of the "trump lovin' yokels" will not be living in Brooklyn much longer if I can help it. But they will DIE in Brooklyn -- these worthless pieces of garbage like Henry and Rufus will get their throats slit, their eyeballs plucked out with a fork, their genitals cut off with a knife and stuffed in their excrement-spewing mouths, and then they will be beheaded and thrown out of a high window at City Point only to have their scummy remains run over by electric cars which will then be put in a place of honor for flattening the rotten corpses of rotten people.

No thanks are necessary, it's my pleasure.
Jan. 3, 9:08 pm
Jim from Park Slope says:
Maybe this wacky prof can get together with the other professor nutcase who said all he wanted for Christmas last year was wbite genocide. He was at Drexel U. when he expressed that wish. Now he'll be teaching hate at NYU. These two should meet. They share a common vileness.
Jan. 4, 5:24 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
If this "artwork" is supposed to be about Trump why is there a figure of Don Imus?
Jan. 4, 11:49 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Once again, Morris gives us all a shining example of liberalism being a mental disease. Get help my man.
Jan. 4, 12:38 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge, I want to suck you dry and give you a rusty trombone!
Jan. 4, 1:51 pm

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