‘You’ve got to call out evil,’ says pastor of church with Nativity scene separated in cages

Religion News Service | 12/13/2019 | Alejandra Molina
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CLAREMONT, Calif. (RNS) — The Nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church is striking.

Mannequins - Jesus - Mary - Joseph - Cages

Mannequins of Jesus, Mary and Joseph are separated in individual cages topped with barbed wire. A baby Jesus is wrapped in what resembles a Mylar blanket, similar to the sheets migrants have been given in holding cells.

On a podium, a message reads: “What if this family sought refuge in our country today?”

Rev - Martha - Morales - Church - Intention

The Rev. Martha Morales said the church's intention was not to be controversial or political. Instead, she said, the church is trying to be faithful to its calling to do God's work.

“Our purpose is to say, ‘This is what we believe that God is calling us to do.' You’ve got to call out evil and lift up justice,” said Morales, associate pastor at Claremont United Methodist.

Stream - People - Church - Congregation - Nativity

A stream of people has been visiting the church since the congregation set up the life-size Nativity scene on Saturday (Dec. 7).

People have either commended or lambasted the church for its display, which does not mention President Donald Trump but sheds light on family separation at the border. It has garnered widespread attention from progressive Christians and Conservative commentators like Tomi Lahren.

Church - Slew - Emails - Safety - Purposes

The church has received a slew of negative emails, and for safety purposes, a local police car has been stationed outside the church as visitors take photos of the Nativity and reflect at the site.

Some of the visitors have talked with one another at the site and pondered the role of Christianity in the immigration crisis at the border.

Woman - Display - Her - Guatemalan - Migrant

One woman teared up, saying the display reminded her of the 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in Border Patrol custody after being diagnosed with the flu. Another described the grounds of the Nativity scene as "holy," given the international recognition of it.

In Canada, a similar Nativity emerged in Toronto this week,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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