• Surprise! Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Cages Generates Strong Opinions

    Surge Summary: A Nativity Scene hijacked for partisan political purposes? Some critics are accusing a California Methodist church of exactly that. Others think it’s dandy. The minister responsible for the display, however, does find one positive result of the attention-getting stunt with which both sides might agree.

    What would Christmas in America be without fresh ways for people to stir up a rhubarb over something, well, Christmasy?

    A United Methodist Church in California is coming under fire for its Nativity scene portraying the infant Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in separate 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. [Dave Urbanski/The Blaze]

    It’s doubtful the congregation is aware the separation of illegal immigrants in “cages” commenced not with the current Chief Executive … but under the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

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

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

    “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.

    Ristine also offered thoughts on the controversial 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.”

    As expected, the Nativity display’s sentiments and the theology behind it have attracted numerous detractors — who shot back at the cleric on the social media forum:

    • “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.”

    Sure enough, the presentation had its fans, as well.

    • “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.'”

    As of Monday morning, Ristine’s Saturday post has ignited 20,000 shares — a reaction with which she is pleased.

    “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.”

    People connecting and discussing an important matter? One could agree with Rev. Ristine during this holiday season that, whatever else comes of it, that is one encouraging outcome of this affair.

    Stirred to tears by the Claremont UMC nativity. Inside the church, the Holy Family is reunited. The theological…

    Posted by Karen Clark Ristine on Saturday, December 7, 2019

    H/T: Dave Urbanski/The Blaze

    Image: Screen Shot: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10162927707980314&set=a.10150545085870314&type=3

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