DEDHAM, MA (WBZ/CNN) - A Massachusetts church hopes their nativity scene, which depicts baby Jesus in a cage and the wise men closed off by a wall, will provoke a conversation about immigration.
The message of the unconventional nativity scene at Saint Susanna’s Parish in Dedham, MA, questions peace on Earth. The parish hopes the scene is thought-provoking.
"We try to take a picture of the world as it is and put it together with a Christmas message,” pastor Stephen Josoma said.
In the scene, baby Jesus can be seen in a cage, which the church says is meant to represent migrant children held at the southern border and separated from their parents. The wise men, who are behind a border wall, are meant to represent a caravan of migrants.
Josoma believes the nativity scene is in line with the message of Jesus, calling it “gospel activism.”
"Jesus was about taking care of one another. This is not the way to take care of one another,” Josoma said.
The parishioners insist the scene is not a dig at Trump administration policies.
"We're not trying to scandalize anyone. We’re trying to reflect back a reality that has to be looked at,” said Pat Ferrone, a member of the committee that came up with the idea for the display. "We talk about… feeding the hungry and welcoming the stranger."
But mixing politics with religion isn’t sitting well with some in the community, who believe the nativity scene has crossed a line.
"This is where you come to pray. This is not where you come to be preached at about what you should think about politics,” resident Helen Watson said.
However, parishioner Phil Mandeville says Jesus was no stranger to politics.
"Christ was political. He was hung on a cross for making political statements and bucking the authority, and that's exactly why he died,” he said.
The nativity scene is meant to be a symbol of hope, and at Saint Susanna’s, they say it’s the hope that a conversation has begun.
Saint Susanna’s is known for its thought-provoking nativity scenes. Last year, the church included a list of mass shooting locations and the number of victims at each as part of its display.