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Church Nativity scene called 'abomination' for showing 'the most famous refugee family in the world' separated in cages


'You should be ashamed to display such a desecration of our lord Jesus Christ'

Image source: KABC-TV video screenshot

A United Methodist Church in California is getting heavily criticized for its Nativity scene showing the infant Jesus, Mary, and Joseph separated in cages.

The Claremont United Methodist Church is using the Nativity scene to speak out about the U.S. southern border separation policies of President Donald Trump's administration, KABC-TV reported.

Illegal immigrant family separation in cages commenced with former President Barack Obama's administration.

What are the details?

The display shows baby Jesus wrapped in a silver mylar blanket, the station said.

Image source: KABC-TV video screenshot

It also shows each member of the Holy Family in a cage — with Mary and Joseph extending their arms toward Jesus in the middle.

Image source: KABC-TV video screenshot

"We thought about the most famous refugee family in the world, the family of Jesus," the church's senior minister Rev. Karen Clark Ristine told KABC, adding that another Nativity scene inside the church shows Jesus, Mary, and Joseph reunited.

Image source: KABC-TV video screenshot

Ristine also discussed the Nativity scene on Facebook:

"Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant," she wrote. "They feared persecution and death. What if this family sought refuge in our country today? Imagine Joseph and Mary separated at the border and Jesus no older than two taken from his mother and placed behind the fences of a Border Patrol detention center as more than 5,500 children have been the past three years. Jesus grew up to teach us kindness and mercy and a radical welcome of all people."


But not everyone agreed with the sentiments or the theology behind the Nativity scene, as numerous detractors shot back at Ristine on Facebook:

  • "What an abomination of Jesus birth. You should be ashamed to display such a desecration of our lord Jesus Christ."
  • "They were traveling to register to pay taxes. NOT refugees. Typical California Leftist BS."
  • "The journey to Egypt is not what is being depicted in this scenery in this church."
  • "Jesus, Mary, & Joseph weren't refugees, they were not smuggling drugs, they were not sex trafficking children, they were not raping women on their journey, they were not living off American taxpayers & draining our system dry! NO COMPARISON."
  • "Yes, let's take one of the most hopeful, beautiful, images of Christmas and turn it into a profane political statement that divides people. Not a church I want to attend. There are other ways to express opinion that do not desecrate."

Others appreciated it, however:

  • "Such a powerful and thought provoking and totally appropriate statement. Grateful for churches who aren't afraid to stand up for social justice!!"
  • "Powerful messages, well done. Don't listen to the sleazeballs with Trump's message of 'Christianity.'"

Ristine's Saturday post has garnered 20,000 shares as of Monday morning, and she said that's what she wanted.

"It was nice for me to see that people wanted to talk with one another, even though they disagreed," Ristine told KABC. "So if this sparks conversation that would be one good goal."

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