A Massachusetts church known for its controversial takes on the Nativity scene display is making a statement with its interpretation this year.
Saint Susanna Parish in Dedham, Mass., put politics front and center with its 2018 scene to reflect the current political landscape. Last year, it called attention to mass shootings taking place throughout America; this time, it’s chosen to highlight the hot-button topic of immigration.
Set beneath a sign that asks the question “Peace on Earth?” the church’s current display shows baby Jesus stuck in a black cage separate from his family, while the three wise men are behind a wall that is labeled “Deportation.” The scene is calling attention to the treatment of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, and according to Boston news station WFXT, it is meant to reflect what that same treatment would have looked like during Jesus’s time.
“Sixty-five million refugees worldwide seeking a better way of life and we were wondering what that might look like 2000 years ago if this family encountered the same dynamics that are taking place in our country right now,” Pastor Steve Josoma told the outlet.
Josoma also said that the display was meant to start a conversation, just as the church intended with last year’s display: Around the back of the Nativity scene were listed some of the country’s deadliest shootings.
“This is not the picture of Christmas peace we want to have in people’s minds for years to come. It can’t be this forever; it just has to change,” Josoma told WFXT at the time.
Both displays were reportedly created by the church’s Pax Christi committee, which aims to “educate the community on matters related to peace and justice issues.”
Neither Josoma nor representatives from the Pax Christi committee immediately responded to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.