A small California Methodist church is displaying a nativity scene depicting the Holy Family as refugees in cages to draw attention to the conditions faced by migrants seeking asylum in the United States.
The Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph figurines are supposed to be border detainees, each isolated in their own chain-link cage with a barbed-wire top.
World Reach Ministries President Dr. Mike Smalley said for Christians, Christmas is the most the sacred time of year, next to Easter.
"You’ve got the baby Jesus there and you’ve got them in cages. So you’re picking something that uses 'Peace on Earth', 'good will toward man' kind of a season and making it a shock statement," said Smalley.
He said the church has a right to do it, but probably shouldn't have gotten political.
Texas Values Executive Director Jonathan Saenz said at least the significance of the Christian nativity scene, albeit in cages, is getting attention from Americans during Christmas.
"It also reminds us the fact that the war on Christmas has usually been efforts by the government to ban traditional nativity scenes with Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus," said Saenz.
He said even they don't encourage churches to display the Holy family in cages, it still has historical and cultural relevance for Americans during Christmas, regardless of how they feel about immigration.