Editor’s note: When it comes to immigration – illegal or otherwise – the American people have a right to be concerned. Each week, Liberty Nation author Kelli Ballard examines a contentious issue related to today’s hottest topic.
‘Tis the season for caring, sharing, and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a special time of year when friends and family come together, people are generally nicer to each other (except while shopping), and volunteers scramble to feed the homeless. For some, Christmas is the only day they attend a religious service. And for one church, it is a time to make a dramatic political statement that leaves some horrified and offended. Such is the case at Claremont United Methodist Church, whose shocking nativity scene depicts Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in separate cages. The message is clear: open borders.
The Southern California church’s “protest Nativity” features the biblical Holy Family as refugees, presumably stopped at the border, separated from each other, and put into chainlink cages surrounded by barbed wire. A statement posted next to the scene reads, “What if this family sought refuge in our country today?”
A Powerful Image
Christianity is about inclusiveness, but this paints a very ugly picture – as intended. Images are powerful, and the church capitalized on this by putting the biblical family in cages and relating their flight to Egypt to escape King Herod’s persecution of babies to all immigrants seeking refuge today. The caption near the Nativity says:
“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. In the Claremont United Methodist Church nativity scene this Christmas, the Holy Family takes the place of the thousands of nameless families separated at our borders.”
A strong and moving message, indeed, and responses on Facebook were a combination of praise and outrage. While Ethel Rogers noted, “A thoughtful, loving, and inclusive church that truly practices the teachings of Christ,” Brenda Franklin said, “This is an absolute tragedy. How shameful and disrespectful. Your ignorance is astounding.”
Is the Comparison Valid?
Comparing the first-century family’s migration to today’s illegal immigration is like comparing the T-Rex to today’s domesticated cat. Times change. For one thing, the world at the time of Christ’s birth was not nearly as populated as it is today. Modern weaponry and drugs, terrorist groups, and cartels were not concerns back then. Sure, that period had its own trials, but the ones simmering at our border today have so little connection to the situation 2,000 years ago that the linkage falls flat.
Thomas Sink replied on Facebook to the disturbing image with, “That’s funny…Joseph and Mary WERE OBEYING THE LAW by RETURNING to Bethlehem to REGISTER (key word there!) For the Census the Roman Government had every so often for tax purposes…the so called ‘refugees’ … read your Bible and TAKE IT LITERALLY United Methodists! Quit inserting liberal Social Doctrine that’s tantamount to SOCIALISM in it!”
The Claremont Methodist Church joins others in making bold statements. Last year, Christ Church Cathedral in Indiana mounted a similar protest nativity scene, with the family caged together.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.