Indiana church puts 'Jesus, Mary and Joseph in ICE Detention' cage - makes a bold statement about immigration policy
A church in Indianapolis made a strong statement about the country's ongoing immigration crisis through a display at their lawn on Monument Circle on Monday. The display showed The Holy Family — Mary, Joseph, and Jesus Christ — in a cage similar to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers.
The church, on its Twitter page, wrote: "On our lawn tonight we placed The Holy Family…in #ICE detention."
"We pray for those families separated at the border. May God protect them and watch over them," the tweet from the church added. The church display also has a sign saying #EveryFamilyIsHoly and the same hashtag in Spanish #CadaFamiliaEsSagrada.
The bold statement from the church came at the time when separation of families at the United States-Mexico border has come under severe scrutiny by activists, lawmakers and human rights organization across the world.
Separating children from their parents is a part of President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy associated with the crackdown on immigration in the country.
The family separation policy was announced in May by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Under the policy, Trump administration has been separating children from their parents or families, who had been illegally entering the country. The children are then handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services for reallocation.
The dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Stephen Carlsen, also condemned the policy of separating families and said: "We heard a lot of the Bible quoted, people trying to say what scripture justifies and doesn’t justify. Our tradition, our sacred traditions, are crystal clear. People who come to us for safety, for refuge are just like everyone in our families."
Carlsen added that the church was very concerned about what has been happening in the country, particularly when it comes to immigrants seeking a better life.
"Our job as faithful people is to welcome people with mercy. Our religious images are supposed to remind us where God’s heart is. God’s heart is compassion. With people who are in need, and our heart should be there, too," the dean added.
Calsen, while talking to RTV6, said: "When I read the stories of the Holy Family in scripture, they were in the middle of some pretty heated things."
"They had to flee for asylum in Egypt. ... The powers of the day were threatening and indeed killing people in Jesus’s day. They were a homeless family with nowhere to stay. I think our faith tells us where we need to be," the church dean said.
"The fact that it’s controversial isn’t because I want to be controversial," the dean continued. "What’s controversial is that we are turning away from the values that should be guiding us. The point of a religious icon is to move our hearts, and if at first people are upset by it, that might just be God trying to move their heart. And I hope their hearts soften."
Thousands of people participated in a nationwide protest over the weekend against family separation at the US-Mexico border, which included hundreds of people who gathered near the Indiana Statehouse to protest President Donald Trump's controversial policy.
Reports state that when the local media asked the rector how long the church intended to leave the diorama of The Holy Family up, Carlsen replied with: "How long will we keep detaining families indefinitely?”
"My greatest hope would be that our nation will search its heart and say this is not who we want to be,” he added.