DEDHAM, Mass. — If Jesus came to America with his family today, would he be taken from them at the border? Would the wise men be allowed in to bring him gifts? One church in suburban Boston put up a controversial Nativity scene that it hopes makes people ask these questions.
It's an unconventional take on the Nativity scene. The baby Jesus in a cage, the wise men closed off by a wall. For Saint Susanna's Parish in Dedham, this creche is meant to be thought provoking.
Pastor Stephen Josoma told WBZ, "We try to take a picture of the world as it is and put it together with a Christmas message." That message this year questions about peace on Earth. He says Jesus represents migrant children being held at the southern border separated from their parents. The wise men represent the caravan of migrants behind the border wall. "Jesus was about taking care of one another. This is not the way to take care of one another," said Josoma.
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But mixing politics with religion isn't sitting well with some who believe this Nativity scene has crossed a line. "This is where you come to pray, this is not where you come to be preached at what you should think about politics," said Helen Watson.
The pastor says this is not necessarily a dig at the Trump administration. Rather than political activism, he prefers to call it gospel activism. Parishioner Pat Ferrone said, "We're not trying to scandalize anyone, trying to reflect back a reality that has to be looked at."
And Jesus, they say, was no stranger to politics. "Christ was political, he was hung on a cross for making political statements and bucking authority and that's exactly why he died," said parishioner Phil Mandeville.
The Nativity scene is meant to be a symbol of hope. At St. Susanna's, the hope is that a conversation has begun.
The church is known for its thought provoking Nativity scenes. Last year it included a list of mass shooting locations as part of its display.