Claremont United Methodist Church in California used their Christmas nativity scene as a way to show a message about family separation. They show a caged Jesus, Mary and Joseph separated at the border.
Senior Minister Karen Clark Ristine posted a picture of the nativity on her Facebook page and she encourages people to “consider the most well-known refugee family in the world.”
Obviously, the post didn’t come without criticism.
The minister says she doesn’t see this as a political statement, but rather a theological one.
“We see this as, in some ways, the Holy Family standing in for the nameless families,” Reverend Karen Clark Ristine told the media. “We’ve heard of their plight; we’ve seen how these asylum seekers have been greeted and treated. We wanted the Holy Family to stand in for those nameless people because they also were refugees.”
“We don’t see it as political; we see it as theological. I’m getting responses from people I don’t know,” said the Reverend, who has been leading the church since July 2019. “I am having people tell me that it moved them to tears. So if the Holy Family and the imagery of the Holy Family and the imagery of a Nativity is something you hold dear, and you see them separated, then that’s going to spark compassion in many people.”
Their website has information about their previous work with asylum seekers at the U.S. border.
The church has also raised $10,000 for ‘Justice for our neighbors’, and organization that provides legal counsel for detained and separated children.
The post has already received thousands of likes and shared with plenty of them praising the church’s choice to use their nativity as a way to raise awareness on the current situation at the U.S. border. Others believe that it’s wrong to politicize Jesus and his family with some calling it a ‘cheap’ way to get attention and ‘attack’ the U.S. government.