The biggest story in North America right now is how families are being separated at the United States/Mexico border. Children are being sent to detention centers where they are held in confined spaces with not a lot of free time.
It's been an extremely controversial subject, as while they may technically be illegal immigrants, many people feel as though children should not be separated from their families. This "zero tolerance" policy is breaking apart parents from their kids and leading to almost guaranteed post-traumatic stress.
One church in Indianapolis is absolutely against the policy set in place by President Trump, and decided to protest by locking up their statues of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in a cage.
Accompanying the cage is a sign that says "Every Family Is Holy."
“When I read the stories of the Holy Family in scripture, they were in the middle of some pretty heated things," Dean Stephen Carlsen, of Christ Church Cathedral Indianapolis told RTV6. "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.”
Of course, locking up the Holy family is a sure-fire way to get people talking, but Dean Carlsen is just fine with that. He wants people to talk.
“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.”
Christ Church Cathedral posted an official statement on their website, as well.
Last evening we revealed our #EveryFamilyIsHoly campaign, designed to bring awareness to the humanitarian atrocities from our nation’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies on the border and here in Indianapolis. The campaign’s icon of The Holy Family, held in detention, is now on the Cathedral’s lawn facing Monument Circle.
Holy Scripture is clear about how we are to treat people trying to find safety for their families—we are to show mercy and welcome them. Jesus, Mary and Joseph were homeless and fled danger to seek asylum.
The Holy Family today calls us to stand with all families seeking safety and a future for their children. We will not stand by while children are being taken from their parents, and families are being taken from our communities and congregations.
People of good will and faith must not allow this to continue. We must not be divided by race, language or culture, but reach out to care for our neighbors—because every family is sacred.
Local media asked Dean Carlsen how long the Holy family would be detained. His answer was powerful.
“How long will we keep detaining families indefinitely? How long is it needed? I would love for it to be outdated and be taken down. That would be my greatest wish.”
“People forget what [the Nativity] scene means," Carlsen continued. "That was a homeless couple who weren’t welcome anywhere, who took refuge in the barn, and it was to that couple that the Christ child was born.”
The display has received a lot of attention, saying it's the perfect way to express how divisive the policy is.
"I hope they keep it up and don't cave to pressure," wrote Ariel Snow. "I hope it pisses people off, it should. Maybe it will convince them to get off their asses and protest. Sometimes you need something shocking like this."
Kimberley Harrington echoed this sentiment:
I applaud this church for making such a poignant visual statement. It is especially relevant given that Trump and his chosen officials, specifically AG Sessions, do not abide by our country’s separation of church and state. They repeatedly bring God, the Bible, and church into their perception of how the government should be run and use God and the Bible as justification for the choices they make in enacting and enforcing laws. So they’ve put themselves out there as Christians who depend on the Gospel to guide them in their jobs and endorse the Gospel values.