Nativity scene shows Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in cages

U.S. & World

(CNN) – A nativity scene at a California church is getting strong reaction. It depicts Jesus, Mary and Joseph as refugees in cages.

Reverend Karen Clark Ristine is the new pastor at Claremont United Methodist Church where they’re known for their topical non-traditional nativity scenes with a provocative message.

“I knew about that before I was assigned to come here and I was excited about it,” she said. “What would happen today if the holy family showed up at our borders seeking asylum?”

Thousands of families seeking asylum in the U.S. have been separated at the border.

“It really makes me think. In a way it puts a mirror in front of us right now, and so that bothers me,” said one visitor.

The Maung family dropped by. They recently emigrated from Burma and this brings back some sad memories of their homeland.

“We saw some families like this,” they said.

But what about separation of church and state?

Is this crossing a line?

Reverend Ristine doesn’t see it as a political statement, yet many who posted on her Facebook page disagree.

One wrote, “Inappropriate and incredibly false analogy….using the nativity scene for political agendas is wrong. Ridiculous.”

Inside the church, no statement at all, simply the traditional nativity scene.

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