Church locks up Jesus, Mary and Joseph to protest Trump's immigration policies
Last May, the Trump administration implemented a new "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. At the U.S.-Mexico border, more than 2,000 migrant children were cruelly separated from their parents and placed in prison-like detention centers. This included families crossing the border illegally, as well as asylum seekers, who were not breaking the law. To make this situation even more horrific, the U.S. opened "tender age" detention centers for children under age 12. (Because nothing says "make America great again" like baby jail!)
Reports emerged, showing heartbreaking images and audio of the separated families. Trump supporters defended the barbaric policy, claiming it was the law - it wasn't. They also claimed Barack Obama implemented the same policy - he didn't. Many Americans were outraged, including all five living first ladies - yes, Melania Trump, too. Even President Trump called the policy "horrible," despite the fact his administration had the power to stop it at any time. Finally, he reversed course. Last week President Trump issued an executive order ending family separation.
However, the executive order does not end the "zero-tolerance" policy. The Trump administration will continue to "rigorously enforce" immigration laws. It's just now families will be detained together "where appropriate and consistent with law." The executive order does not address the condition of the detention centers, which have been held under scrutiny. Nor does the E.O. address the complicated process of reuniting the separated families. As a result, protests rage on across the country.
In Indianapolis, the Christ Church Cathedral has came up with a striking way to condemn current U.S. immigration policies. They locked statues of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus inside a barricaded fence, similar to the cages in the detention centers. Church dean Steve Carlson said the display is intended to rebuke the "zero tolerance" immigration policy, as part of his Every Family is Holy campaign.
So, why lock up Mary, Joseph and Jesus? "They were a homeless family with nowhere to stay," Carlson explained to RTV6, a local ABC affiliate.
"I think our faith tells us where we need to be. The fact that it's controversial isn't because I want to be controversial. What's controversial is that we're turning away from the values that should be guiding us. The point of a religious icon is to move our hearts. If at first, people are upset by it, that might just be God trying to move their hearts. I hope their hearts soften."
When asked how long the fence would stay up, Carlson replied, "How long are we going to keep detaining families indefinitely?" (Good answer!)
Over the past week, the protests over this crisis have grown louder, stirring a national debate about civility. Trump administration officials, like homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, have been confronted in public as they ate dinner at restaurants. Critics say this kind of behavior is harassment. They may have a point. But Christ Church Cathedral's display reminds us not to lose sight of the real issue.