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Church Sparks Heated Reactions By Putting Jesus, Mary, Joseph In Separate Cages, Separated By The Border Patrol
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Christmas, Social Issues2 years ago

Church Sparks Heated Reactions By Putting Jesus, Mary, Joseph In Separate Cages, Separated By The Border Patrol

The holidays are quickly approaching us with the smell of freshly-baked cookies, the malls are full of Christmas tunes, and we all know that it’s the season to spend time in the warm company of your family. However, not all people will have the luxury of spending time with their loved ones. Especially if they’re running for their lives.

Claremont United Methodist Church in California is making the headlines for its very unusual Nativity scene that depicts Jesus, Mary, and Joseph locked up in cages, as a family of asylum seekers separated at the border.

The reactions to the Nativity scene have been very different and society appears to be divided on the issue.

Claremont United Methodist Church divided society after it unveiled its Nativity scene with everyone in cages

Image credits: Karen Clark Ristine

Some believe that it’s the perfect way to grab everyone’s attention about an important societal issue. Others think that it’s wrong to politicize Jesus and his family, and it’s a ‘cheap’ way to get attention and ‘attack’ the current United States government. A third group thinks that the metaphor doesn’t quite work because Jesus and his family were in a different situation than asylum seekers today.

The church’s take on the Nativity scene is a criticism of the way asylum seekers and refugees are dealt with in the US

Image credits: Breznican

Image credits: Breznican

While the Claremont United Methodist Church’s lead pastor, Reverend Karen Clark Ristine, doesn’t see this is as a political statement—she sees it as a theological one. With such a cacophony of different views and opinions being expressed, it’s no wonder the church is getting so much attention.

“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.”

Image credits: Breznican

Image credits: Breznican

Image credits: Breznican

Image credits: Breznican

Image credits: Breznican

Image credits: Karen Clark Ristine

The Nativity scene is meant to show Jesus after he was born. However, the Claremont United Methodist Church is trying to make a metaphor about asylum seekers by alluding to Joseph and Mary’s flight to Egypt, to escape King Herod’s wrath.

The church does have a second, more traditional, Nativity scene inside the building itself. Claremont United Methodist Church often uses its Nativity scene to draw attention to important issues, such as Southern California’s homelessness crisis.

The lead pastor of the church shared her thoughts in this post:

Image credits: Karen Clark Ristine

Here’s how some people reacted to what the church did, some were very critical

While others loved the idea

Image credits: GarrattJann

Image credits: VJShordee444

Image credits: opiejeanne

Image credits: ArneFelix

Image credits: samdew66

Image credits: soul_brooke

Image credits: maplemouth

Image credits: CatspawDTP

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Marc
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

It's strange how everyone's talking about how offensive this might be and how "anti-god", but none of those people seem to get the message, which is more Christian than most of those people as it seems. Usually people pick those parts from the Bible which suits their narrow-minded views, ignoring other parts which are equally important. Like altruism and how to treat god’s creatures. I can only applaud the senior minister for being brave, although she must have known that those people from yesterday will give her a hard time. She's the true Christian here. Sadly, those people will never see that, as they are caged in their world and their beliefs.

Chris Watson
Community Member
2 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

How many illegal immigrants are you taking in ?

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Patrick O'Harris
Community Member
2 years ago

I must admit that I'm extremely happy about the fucked up wanna be christians in the comments being pissed.

India Frost
Community Member
2 years ago

Ana, in terms of "listing a couple" of ways that people of color are disenfranchised...I don't think I will. I'm a white woman and with that comes great privilege. My knowledge is strictly academic, but there are many people of color speaking from a visceral and real place about their experiences in this country. My job is to listen and try to deconstruct that in anyway I can, like engaging in these conversations. People are voicing their experiences in this country and the history backs it up. Your vehement defense and denial of it is where I'm asking you to level up. You're not disagreeing with me, your denying history and real peoples experiences. You're inadvertently supporting a structure that is harming people with your ignorance. I appreciate the conversation. All the best to you!

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KatHat
Community Member
2 years ago

Wow, some comments in the article and here in the comments section that indicate great ignorance around what Jesus did and stood for. You can't separate social justice from true Christianity and Jesus made everything political. If you say otherwise you need to read more.

Bunzilla
Community Member
2 years ago

I really have to question if these people actually read the article. I doubt it. They just saw the headline, then raced down to the comment section to start spewing venom. The article clearly explains the parallels between Jesus Mary and Joseph, and modern day refugees. It's pretty apt.

Load More Replies...
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Marc
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

It's strange how everyone's talking about how offensive this might be and how "anti-god", but none of those people seem to get the message, which is more Christian than most of those people as it seems. Usually people pick those parts from the Bible which suits their narrow-minded views, ignoring other parts which are equally important. Like altruism and how to treat god’s creatures. I can only applaud the senior minister for being brave, although she must have known that those people from yesterday will give her a hard time. She's the true Christian here. Sadly, those people will never see that, as they are caged in their world and their beliefs.

Chris Watson
Community Member
2 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

How many illegal immigrants are you taking in ?

Load More Replies...
Patrick O'Harris
Community Member
2 years ago

I must admit that I'm extremely happy about the fucked up wanna be christians in the comments being pissed.

India Frost
Community Member
2 years ago

Ana, in terms of "listing a couple" of ways that people of color are disenfranchised...I don't think I will. I'm a white woman and with that comes great privilege. My knowledge is strictly academic, but there are many people of color speaking from a visceral and real place about their experiences in this country. My job is to listen and try to deconstruct that in anyway I can, like engaging in these conversations. People are voicing their experiences in this country and the history backs it up. Your vehement defense and denial of it is where I'm asking you to level up. You're not disagreeing with me, your denying history and real peoples experiences. You're inadvertently supporting a structure that is harming people with your ignorance. I appreciate the conversation. All the best to you!

Load More Replies...
KatHat
Community Member
2 years ago

Wow, some comments in the article and here in the comments section that indicate great ignorance around what Jesus did and stood for. You can't separate social justice from true Christianity and Jesus made everything political. If you say otherwise you need to read more.

Bunzilla
Community Member
2 years ago

I really have to question if these people actually read the article. I doubt it. They just saw the headline, then raced down to the comment section to start spewing venom. The article clearly explains the parallels between Jesus Mary and Joseph, and modern day refugees. It's pretty apt.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
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