For the second year running a church in Massachusetts has used its nativity display to make a comment on a topic currently affecting the United States.

The display at St. Susanna Parish, a Roman Catholic congregation in Dedham, has placed their baby Jesus statue inside a black cage to provoke a conversation about the treatment of immigrants and children at the US-Mexico border thanks to policies enforced by the Trump administration.

To the right of the cage the wise men have been blocked off from the rest of the scene by a large fence with a sign reading 'Deportation' attached to it, symbolising the barriers that Western countries have created to keep migrants out.

Above the scene, a bold blue banner reads, "Peace on Earth."


This is a stark contrast to the usual nativity scene where Mary, Joseph, shepherds and the three wise men gather around the newly born child in a stable.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, parish priest Steve Josoma said, "We wanted to put a mirror image of the world into the stable" which he feels is a "perfect symbol of peace on Earth."

Last year, the church used the nativity to draw attention to gun violence in the US, by including the locations of major shootings and its death count within their display.

However, the congregation has stated that their stance is a direct criticism of the Trump administration, although some to their policies are "at odds" with the message of the gospel.

Josoma added:

Soldiers firing tear gas at the border doesn’t seem to be the way to go to bring out healing and reconciliation.

Although the display has good intentions and intends to engage people in a positive debate about important topics it has faced a backlash from conservatives who feel that this version of the nativity is inappropriate.

One of the most prominent voices against it was Fox News host Sean Hannity, who claimed that Christmas was 'under siege' and even featured it in a segment on his show.

In response to the criticism, Josoma said that the nativity was supposed to cause a debate.

People think children in diapers getting tear-gassed is OK, but this [Nativity scene] is totally sacrilegious?

All we’re trying to do is put the two together.

What you do to somebody else is what you do to Christ.

You can’t separate the two


Within the congregation, the display has been received positively and the church also engages in its own refugee program having welcomed a family from Burundi to their parish in September and helping them settle into the local community.

They are now eager to welcome a second refugee family but Josoma just hopes that their efforts can begin to help the situation, even if it's only a small gesture.

We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we believe working together in small communities, we can begin to address the problem.

HT Huffington Post

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