PHOENIX (Christian Examiner) – An irreverent Kickstarter project by NerdTalk Toys features a five-figurine nativity of Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus, an angel, and a donkey—but all of them are zombies.
"I just like to be weird and come up with crazy ideas that typically offend people," says Ashley Gojic, founder and CEO of NerdTalk Toys, in a promotional video on the Kickstarter site.
The video shows Gojic with founder and creative director Justin Contre presenting to a group of bored clergy about their ideas for fixing the decline in religion. Their plan is to infuse religion with zombies.
"I think it is funny to take something that is so innocent or sacred or protected and throw it on its head by making them zombies or something else they shouldn't be," Gojic said, according to Charisma News.
The infant Jesus in the Zombie nativity set is purple with yellow eyes and visible brains. Mary and Joseph are shades of blue with tattered clothes, exposed bones and brains, and fixed stares, while the black-winged angel shows teeth that are stained red with blood. The donkey has bite marks on its legs and a protruding green tongue.
The campaign promotional material claims a new spin on the nativity will restore apathetic yuletide cheer. "Simply put - Zombies are still really popular. And we're really happy about that.
"From 'The Night of the Living Dead' to CW's iZombie to AMC's Fear the Walking Dead, Zombies are very central to today's culture, and it's a shame they only get 1 holiday. Why not 3: Halloween, Christmas AND #ZombieJesusDay (Easter)," the release says.
Gojic says she is an atheist, while Contre says he is a Catholic. Contre says the zombie nativity sparked discussion between himself and his parents. "We talked about what they believe, what I believe and how we think Jesus should be represented," he said. "They are happy I have a Nativity in my house now, even though it is zombies."
World War Z, The Walking Dead, and even Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are all zombie-themed entertainment common in popular culture.
In Ohio, a real zombie nativity built by Jasen and Amanda Dixon in their front yard has received local and national attention. Zoning officials have objected to the structure and threatened the Dixons with a $500 per day fine, while local Baptists left a tract on the manger in front of the green-skinned Jesus, the New York Times reported.
"God frowns upon this manger scene," said the pamphlet. "Jesus has supreme power over death and evil; he is not a zombie."
The Facebook page created about the world's first zombie nativity scene says, "A wonderful piece of artwork located [in Cincinnati]. We are not Atheist." The page promotes an INDIEGOGO charity plea by Amanda Baker to help cover "legal fees" they say are a result of the Township Sycamore directing them to remove the structure by Dec. 4. "If you love the nativity scene as much as we do, help us out!!" the rationale states. Donations of $10 "to help the children" are being solicited.
In the FAQ section under "I'm offended!" the creators of the Zombie Nativity toy write, "We certainly did not set out to create Zombie Nativity to offend the masses. We wanted to make something funny/weird/interesting/cute that appealed to our own sense of humor."
On the toy's dedicated website, however, the company tallies its tweets, likes, and "Rebukes Rec'd," which currently stand at five.