At St. Susanna’s Parish in Dedham, Massachusetts, a group of parishioners has created a nativity scene that has sparked controversy nationwide. Rather than contenting themselves with the traditional “baby Jesus in a manger surrounded by his family and the three wise men,” the parish decided to put the savior in a small cage and block the wise men off behind a wall reading “Deportation.” If you guessed they were trying to make a point about illegal immigration and the so-called “family separation” policy of the Trump administration, you are of course right.
According to Pastor Fr. Stephen Josoma, the piece is meant for people of “goodwill,” so that they may reconsider what the U.S. is doing to migrants and asylum-seekers.
“We try to take a picture of the world as it is and put it together with a Christmas message,” he told the local CBS Boston station. “Jesus was about taking care of one another. This is not the way to take care of one another.”
For whatever reason, Josoma tries to pretend that the nativity scene is not about taking a political shot at President Trump.
“We talk about Matthew 25,” he said. “Feeding the hungry and welcoming the stranger.”
He prefers to call the church’s nativity scenes a form of “gospel activism.”
At least one parishioner, however, says there’s nothing wrong with mixing Church and State.
“Christ was political,” Phil Mandeville told the station. “He was hung on a cross for making political statements and bucking authority and that’s exactly why he died.”
The group behind the nativity – a selection of St. Susannah parishioners calling themselves Pax Christi – say that the scene gets to the heart of the matter. “It just makes the point,” said churchgoer Pat Ferrone, “that this would be unacceptable to Jesus.”
According to Pax Christi’s website, their purpose is to “educate the community on matters related to peace and justice issues including war, torture, the environmental degradation of our world, and human rights and to bear witness to the hope of the gospel by bringing prayerful attention and courageous, loving resistance to those things that are disharmonious with God’s Kingdom.”
Not sure what good comes from stunts like this. It just has the feeling of a bunch of liberals wanting to use symbols of Christianity to make a political point – not a genuine interpretation of a complex situation from a biblical perspective. As such, it not only devalues the Christmas story and the importance of Christ’s birth, it degrades the political message as well. Literally no one who thinks it’s okay for the U.S. to defend her borders is going to be swayed by this tasteless display.
It’s annoying by default when people claim to speak for Jesus and apply his Truth to modern politics. It’s especially loathsome when that mistake is made in such an offensive manner.